It’s funny but I’ve been listening to a lot of late eighties, early nineties stuff recently for the usual confluence of synchronicity reasons. I say funny, but it’s just that it put me in the right mindset to approach NZ two piece band Vassafor. Despite the PR claiming that Vassafor sound like no one else (a hard and very rare thing to pull off), this is very much for old school fans. On the other hand, quite how they have melded influences with their own vision is quite refreshingly different.

Malediction is composed of five lengthy tracks which have a black heart in the primal black/death swamp. Opener ‘Devourer Of A Thousand Worlds’ is a massive downtuned affair that wades its mid-paced way through a thick black tar of Celtic Frost, Blasphemy, Bathory and Beherit but with almost progressive glimpses though the hide has split and a shard of something iridescent almost catches the grey light. ‘Emergence (Of An Unconquerable One) gathers pace and descends into bestial territory, Impiety levels of noise and flailing talons exploding through the thick sound. ‘Elegy Of The Accurser’ begins so simple it’s almost funeral, or Darkthrone and Beherit at their most ponderous, maybe the buried vocals adding a Teitanblood touch. Tempo changes rattle its cage and odd flashes of melody amidst the punkish Bathory gear shifts gradually build it to a crescendo. ‘Black Winds Victoryant’ is an atmospheric if feral piece, Celtic Frost chords and eerie melodic choices with utter chaos and then moments of sparse drumming. ‘Illumination Of The Sinister’ ends the journey

This is an album grown from the old school in sound, but the structure and shifting of these long songs is a much more complex beast despite the primitive DNA. What makes it even better is the complete lack of any arty sludge pretensions. This is pure, primordial black/death ichor in these veins, twisting muscle into constantly shifting shapes and intriguing corners. With a perfectly matched production this sounds thick, cloying and malevolent, it never just drifts and it never lets go.

Highly impressive stuff.

(8.5/10 Gizmo)