Every once in a while, you come across an act that are intent on avoiding being pigeon-holed by a single genre, attempting to merge as many sub-genres as they can in a single release. Such is the case with Manchester, UK-based experimental metal outfit VOW and their newest release Icarian, premiered here today at Everything Is Noise. Formed in 2016, the 4-piece have set themselves the target of ‘pushing and pulling the listener through forceful, angular and dizzying performances‘, which is evident on this most recent opus, due for release September 3 via Surviving Sounds. In advance of its official release, you can listen to Icarian in its entirety right here:
This is the second release from the quartet, following the 35 minute-long 2-track Gentle Decline in 2018. Much like its predecessor, Icarian aims big with its track length. Clocking in at almost 13 minutes, VOW seek to guide the listener through a range of emotions in a number of structured movements. The strength of this release lies in its variety. A gentle opening and mid section lull the listener into a false sense of calm with atmospheric guitars and bright glockenspiel, reminiscent of the quieter moments of If These Trees Could Talk. These moments of reflection are interrupted by brash, abrasive walls of noise. From frantic passages built upon a bed of blast beats and vocal shrieks to Neurosis inspired sludge-fests, Vow leave the listener with little time for reflection. Bassist and vocalist Chris Wood outlines what you should prepare yourself for before hitting play:
‘For those who haven’t heard our previous work, you should expect some familiar black metal, post-metal and sludge influences; but also some more leftfield and minimalist tinges. We gave the track a working title of ‘Steve Reich In The Afternoon’ as the intro and outro are tinged with counterpoint and melodies playing off each other in different time signatures. There’s a stark fragility to the quieter, more reflective parts of the track that contrast with the harshness and super heavy, crushing layers of guitar and bass that make up the louder passages.‘
Icarian is available for pre-order now both digitally and on limited edition cassette (great to see the appreciation of the physical format!) via VOW‘s Bandcamp page. You can also keep up to date with future releases, tour dates, and general news via their Instagram and Facebook pages if you like what you have heard.