VOW release a stunning experimental EP, that forges new directions within metal.
Release date: 3 September 2021
Label: Surviving Sounds
Format: Cassette, Digital Album
VOW, a metal quartet from Manchester, is a band not afraid to experiment with sound. Their second release ICARIAN, is a near thirteen-minute, extreme metal symphony, of contrasting and complex musical movements. It marks a major leap forward musically for the band.
The opening sequence is full of melodic guitar lines and staccato percussive effects, before changing gear into a whirlwind of black metal sounds. The echoing guitars and propulsive drums, with some very jazzy fills, are simply stunning, and the eerie vocals seem to float over the top of the maelstrom of sound. The blast beats then enter the mix, providing a bridge to a change of tempo, characterised by a more doom metal-driven sound, accompanied by crashing riffs and elegant cymbal accents.
We move thrillingly into a beautiful, almost dream-like, guitar-led section, that has a progressive music feel, and in particular, resonances of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells. This evolves into an intense post-metal musical movement, that is quite cinematic in its scope and incredibly atmospheric, and is marked by some explosive blast beat rhythms.
The piece ends with a stark industrial-like drone, that gradually fades away. This is a massively rewarding piece of music to listen to, and each listen uncovers new musical nuances. It is justly ambitious, playing with the metal framework, and bringing in lots of other musical influences and genres. A musical success, that bodes well for the future of this musically gifted experimental band.
The EP also includes a shorter alternative interpretation of the piece by Pijn drummer, vocalist and pianist Nick Watmough (All Partial). A fantastic companion piece, full of keyboards, electronica, and dream pop influences, that reveals new layers to the composition.
This is a great EP, you definitely need to seek out.