It’s always nice to get post from Russia even if in this case the package needed serious de-thawing in a warm cupboard overnight before I could get under the ice and frost and open it. This time there were two discs from Frozen Ocean who I have written about a number of times on these pages as sole artist Vaarwel is a bit on the prolific side to say the least. I decided to review them separately as style wise they are completely different and the second one, which you will find here later really does deserve full focus in its own right.
Vanviddsanger is part of the artist’s Norse trilogy and the sequel to his 2011 album ‘Likegyldig Raser’i which I described as a tribute to Norske Svart Punk with a thick coating of crust. The release is only an EP length at 16 minutes compared to the 1st part being a longer album and has eight tracks divided simply as Vanviddsang I –VIII. At first I thought this was going to be one of his ambient soundscape pieces of music as the first act does indeed set you up for that side of things with mournful keyboard orchestrations literally chilling you to the bone and leaving you lost in a forest as per the excellent cover artwork of the disc. From here though we literally bounce into a thick aggressive, welter of noisy antagonism. Bass is heavy and the instrumentation is repetitively very much reminiscent of simplistic punk. The blackened edge comes partly from the powerful and fast drum assault and also from the raw and wretched shrieking vocals. It is beer spewing, drunk stumbling, snot spewing, dis-core flavoured crust that is as filthy as one would hope. The next part slows it down but apart from that the same vibe rolls and rots its way through it and simply has your head banging a bit less fiercely allowing you perhaps to neck a bit of the cider left in the can before it is all lost over the floor.
Despite there not being a huge diversification of the approach and style between each of the tracks it is an infectious listen overall and I think that the running time being half the length of its predecessor helps this no end and makes it all the more of an infectious listen that I keep finding myself compelled to play again. I have no idea what the vocals are on about probably for the better though as if the Russian artist was spouting Anarchy and it got the attentions of the powers that be it would be straight off to the gulag no doubt. Looking at the label that this has found a home on it is well suited amongst acts as Benighted In Sodom, Horna, Massemord and Woods Of Desolation. Dishing up a quick fired, violent punch to the guts this was not the sort of thing that I expected to arrive with an album conceptually about the Midwinter in Moominland but to hear about that you will have to check in later.
(7/10 Pete Woods)