I’m often know as a bit of a genre fanatic, it becomes a bit of a joke that I refer to bands or sounds with such specifics. I just can’t help it, it helps me to define everything so much better if I put it into a little box. Lame and obsessive as it is, it’s a side effect of years of computer-based music library indexing. Equally there are a few genres which make my blood boil, simply because they don’t exist but I won’t go into them now for it isn’t the time. Instead we are going to look to a band whom have a whole wealth of genre influences.
That band is none other than the Finnish act Vonülfsrëich. This two piece band began in 2012 and went on to release a slew of EPs which would eventually be followed by a debut full length named Hyperborëan Hills in 2017. Originally released through Darker Than Black Records the album has now been reissued through Fallen Temple in 2020. The album promises a blend of Lo-Fi Black Metal, Ritual Punk, Necrofolk and a whole host of other seemingly made up, yet interesting tags that are sure to garner any extreme music fans intrigue.
Opening song Ruumiskirja certainly has a Deathcrush era Mayhem feel to it, something I can really get behind. It’s messy, lo-fi, aggressive, Punk driven and accessible in a strange ultra-underground way. The guitars range from Black Metal mystery to fast paced Venom styled Punk riff work whilst traditional Black Metal vocals loom over the top. The title track keeps up the Punk energy, something I can really appreciate as I often refer to myself as something of a Metal Punk. It all comes across as a bit like Midnight or a Blackened Nekrofilth. Vaellus takes us down a more melancholic route, almost DSBM in its sound as the crying vocals race among the emotive guitars. Yet all this is brought together with Punk infused riffs that dare I say become almost Pop Punk at points, although still Blackened. Truly this must be heard to be believed.
Surumarssi rings in the second half of the record with similar despair and Punk driven melodies, this is almost like taking Black Metal back to its very roots. Then comes the super-fast Gyromantia which is almost Revenge like in its speed and ferocity, like a Punk infused War Metal barrage. There is a slight bit of flirting with Atmospheric Black Metal in Soïl, which adds to this seemingly non-existent brand of Necrofolk which the band pertain to portray. None the less it’s an enjoyable track which adds further influence to the record. Finally the album comes to a close with Järvi the albums longest song. Yet it adds very little to the album as a whole, and given that it’s instrumental it also feels like a bit of an afterthought.
I think that Vonülfsrëich over sell themselves a little with all their ridiculous genre tags, if they called themselves Experimental Blackened Punk then I think that would be more apt and still interesting. However, I wouldn’t wish to detract from the bands overall appeal as I thoroughly enjoyed this record. I will most certainly be watching this band with a very close eye as I feel that they have a lot to offer in terms of keeping the Black Metal scene alive. I find their Punk influence so fantastic and unashamed that I just can ‘t help but be impressed. Perhaps you too are a fellow Metal Punk, if so check this out, you won’t be disappointed.
(8/10 George Caley)