Vor? What is it good for? Quite a lot actually! A lot of the time when a release purporting to be “sludge” hits my inbox or doormat I am dismayed. Usually folks are so busy with the big riffs and low ends that they forget what the patron saints Mike and Jimmy of New Orleans have taught us . Riffs yes but raging hardcore punk attitude is what bursts from the veins of EHG and the like.
Vor from Spain are a drummer and a bassist who make a hell of a fucking racket! These guys have been involved in all sorts of harsh noise and power electronics projects before but stripped down and raging here they ooze with a raw energy that is as infectious as it is unnerving. I am rustling around various scraps of paper that I have made notes on over the last few days that I have been listening to this 9 tracked feral beast. (7 original tracks plus 2 mixes of the title track).
Opening with a sample discussing sacrifices to the gods the title track is a gut wrenching, pounding , pain wracked nine minutes of visceral punked up noise sludge. I can only imagine that this is what the bloke from “Tribes” felt like when he had his crazy plant induced hallucinogenic spirit animal experience in the rain forest. How can two instruments produce so much texture? Devoid of guitars the drums are free to thrust into my ears with no lube. The base flicks from rich and silken to flange driven and warped. Yeah baby! There are doomy passages that segue into space infused riffs then the darkest most evil of satanic stylings. This is the blueprint for the whole album.
Black Goat is like stoner desert rock sung by an inmate of bedlam who has just got the gag out of his mouth. Each line is spat out with venom. There is more than a whiff of Melvins about this as the groove is unleashed and the pace increases and the tubs are thumped into a jungle frenzy.
What is it about the word Why that brings out the crazy in people? Whether it is Napalm Death or Dinosaur Junior, that question seems to let people unleash some madness. Vor are no different with 1 minute of distorted madness, female screams from what I guess is a movie clip and some groovy bass. Cudgel that follows is like the 60’s Batman theme played by Poison Idea on mescaline. Holy Batshit boy wonders. Vor sound so primal. This is music to get naked in the woods to. “Blood…Fear…Knife …. Sin” sounds like an early homosapien calling out to his tribes people as he gazes at the blood cascading over his hands and torso like a hirsute Lady Macbeth. The riff is concrete mixed with nails too.
Obviously our protagonists evolved quickly from the previous track as “Daga” chops and changes with a galactic prog sensibility that makes this listener think of Roaaaargh era Voivod. Black metal screams, harsh bellows, swarming guitars and staccato drums descend into madness before resurfacing into psychedelic sanity and a solo tom beat. Quite a trip!
Final track proper “Dark Frage” is like Sub Pop gone loopy. Imagine Mudhoney, Melvins and Sonic Youth cooped up in a cave with Naatefrost and you will be close. It’s eleven minutes long so the Seattle style craziness gives way to a groove laden “Hang the Bastard “ vibe which floats my gondola . Now any track of such an epic length has to throw in some curve balls. The jazzy interlude half way is pure Vegas and I love it. The fact that it morphs into minimalist blackgaze just makes it better. It then wigs out like a llama on shrooms. Schaawing!
The extra tracks are Depravador (Coffin Version) and Depravador (Noise Hole version), both of which give the lads a chance to show their “Noise” side. They are ok for what they are but won’t get a rewind from me.
With Depravador, Vor have offered up 7 slabs of energetic, spiky, heavy as fuck , atmospheric metal that demands to be experienced. What more do you people want?
(8/10 Matt Mason)