Vetter – Vetterkult

Of all the genre labels on Metal Archives, none does a worse job of capturing a band’s sound than Vetter’s. “Folk/Viking Black Metal” accounts at best for about 10% of Vetterkult, the 9-year-old project’s debut album. The rest is a dizzying patchwork of musical styles that, taken as a whole, defies categorisation. Few modern albums are as daring in their scope as Vetterkult – from recent years only Cave In’s White Silence comes to mind – but none offers so unified a whole from such diverse strands. Half the fun of Vetterkult is puzzling out what makes it work as more than just an eclectic mixtape put together by a broad-tasted fan of heavy music.

Running through the album’s main arteries is a bloodstream of avant-garde black metal: a cryptic hybrid of Kénôse and Dialogue with the Stars, cloaked in the cavernous production values of recent old-school death metal. Yet only three of the album’s nine tracks showcase Vetter’s distinctive take on black metal. Almost as important to Vetterkult’s success are its three ambient tracks: opener ‘Over Havet’ is a masterfully dense work of synth orchestration and atmospherics that displays a grasp of the craft to rival Coil or David Sylvian. ‘Stenklang’, on the other hand, slides unnervingly between metallic soundscaping and eerily minimal, Wagnerian horns.

Then there are the real assaults on the listener’s idea of what does and doesn’t belong on a black metal album. As well as the above, Vetterkult boasts a slab of bass-driven sludge (‘Brennoffer’), some fine Sabbathian doom (‘Brattefoss’) and, most impressive of all, a very trad-sounding folk rock song (‘Peters Vise’) worthy of Fairport Convention or The Albion Band, though in the most Norwegian way possible.

All this together may sound like a trainwreck of an album, and on first listen it’s bound to raise a sceptical eyebrow or two. But, as mentioned above, one of the most engaging things about Vetterkult is that, given a few chances, the pieces do actually start to fit together: you start to hear traces of one song’s style in other songs, and eventually an image of the single deranged mastermind behind the album begins to emerge. Much like kindred spirit Tarihan’s Hohe Tannen, Vetterkult achieves the impossible dream of uniting ancient tradition with fiercely modern metal. Such albums come along once in a decade, and for that reason alone, deserve to be heard.

Stream Vetterkult in its entirety and buy the CD from the Demonhood Productions bandcamp.

11 Comments

  • Reply July 2, 2012

    Ritual Sound

    Whoa. Was not expecting that. Thank you for combing the crap for us. This is on my radar now.

  • Reply July 3, 2012

    Demonhood

    Thanks for the great review! The album can be streamed in its entirety here: http://demonhood.bandcamp.com/album/vetterkult

    Cheers, Einar, Demonhood Productions

  • Reply July 3, 2012

    Artvr

    Read some very bad.. i mean bad reviews of this album. neverthless this label features some quality bands.

    • Reply July 3, 2012

      Richard

      Who could possibly think this is a bad album?

      • Reply August 13, 2012

        ARTVR

        Probably people who run those “review” websites where they write a lot and in the end they still don’t say a word about the album.

  • Reply July 3, 2012

    Perilousmouse

    I’m only on the sixth track, but damn is it good so far. I live for music like this.

    The style is different, but it would fit nicely on a playlist with Aosoth and Lord Mantis. It has that eerie, grimy, slithering quality I love about those bands. And the bass is both very audible and extremely interesting.

    I completely agree about it all fitting together somehow. Definitely buying this.

  • Reply July 3, 2012

    Pavel

    Fantastic work again Rob, you are restoring my faith in the Norwegian hordes. Black metal needs more fast guitar drone like “Brattefoss.” Coil rules, and while this is not Coil, it also rules. What I’m really trying to say, though, is “\m/”.

  • Reply July 3, 2012

    random cunt

    It’s ‘Brennoffer’, Rob.

  • Reply July 12, 2012

    Nicky

    I absolutely LOVE this.

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