If you like your metal to be modern, heavy, energetic, melodic and djenty, this is for you. Vortice come from Barcelona and are releasing their third album with “Host”. They were presented to me as a band who play thrash, technical and progressive metalcore. Well, it’s all of that.
Immediately I was struck by the boundless power and energy of this album. There’s an element of Uneven Structure in the sound. Maybe that’s because it’s big, brash and djenty. In fact it’s more raw and less lingering and so less atmospheric than Uneven Structure, but the songs are meaty and sharp. It’s not an individual listening experience. I suspect the whole of Cambridge where I live could hear this album unfolding. It has an all-embracing sound, filled with massive bass, imposing drums, screams and growls and cool riffs and progressions. It’s mostly fast-paced but Vortice allow themselves the space to drop down and indulge themselves and us now and again in expansive moods and flamboyant technical metal as they feel fit. The only dubious point was the choruses on a couple of early tracks, where it wasn’t clear whether the vocals were supposed to be eerie, the singers were out of range or understandably being overpowered by their monstrous surroundings. Epic build-ups are superimposed on already epic structures. “(In)puts” even manages to be exotic in all this mayhem. But there’s no time for reflection. It’s hard to pick out highlights, as it’s like an unstoppable express train with gourmet catering to delight us on the journey. Respite only comes when we come to the sixth track “The Spaceship Destroyer of Mankind” that we get a breather in the form of an atmospheric electro-cyber piece. Battle recommences with the furious “What Everyone Says”. The breathtakingly fast and hard riff and omnipresent wall of sound sum up what this album is: DYNAMIC. Cue more djenty technicality and off we fire in all directions with “Re-Eternal Insanity”. The vocalist roars. The sound becomes more crunchy and bassy as the pace switches down and the track once again takes on technical magnificence. The title track, which ends this album, is another full-blooded affair, transforming into technical massiveness before finally fading away and allowing me to return to a normal octane level.
Here’s an admission. When I heard this album the first time, I didn’t get its multitude of qualities. I paid more attention the second time and it hit me like a bolt out of the blue. My advice now is to absorb and inhale “Host” but probably not more than three times a day, as the enormity of it may render you prone to unstoppable cerebral and bodily vibrations.
(9/10 Andrew Doherty)