VHOL cover art (200x178)The boundary-stretching metalwork of John Cobbett, regardless of the bands he finds himself in, keeps American extreme music’s tendrils advancing ever-outward in artistic abandon. He does so while never abandoning his own bloody heart of heaviness. VHÖL is the latest entry into this canon, but cannot be dismissed as just another vehicle for his talent. No, VHÖL’s self-titled debut declares right away that, not only have you embarked on a highly unique and well-rounded journey, but you are experiencing the collaborative creation of assembled equals. The incomparable drumwork of Aesop Dekker face-punches with d-beats, blast-beats and whatever-the-hell-you-need beats when called upon, making his presence at every rhythmic nook and cranny of the record. Dekker’s post-Ludicra reteaming with Cobbett has brought a more varied tinge to their dynamic, with a healthy crossbreed of hardcore, KK Downing/Glen Tipton-sized guitar harmonies, Thrash and Black into a deadly stew of Metal for All. Sigrid Sheie’s distorted, yet warm and tasteful bass noise keeps up easily with the Cobbett-Dekker doomsday device, fleshing out a thick, yet midrange-y production that’s easy on the ear. Sharing time with Cobbett in Hammers Of Misfortune, her confident playing reveals her familiarity with his technical/maniacal style, and fills the frequency spectrum between he and Dekker with aplomb. But what fully separates VHÖL from all the aforementioned bands is the contribution of YOB’s Mike Scheidt. Serpentine Black Metal wails, strangling, yet fervent pitch-singing, Tom Warrior-esque ‘Ughs’ and enunciations, King Diamond-like falsettos backed with Death Metal grumbles – all this and more await the extreme music aficionado that favors Metal exceedingly difficult to pin down. As final track ‘Set to Await Forever Ends’, you’ll find yourself pleasingly perplexed by the album you’ve just heard, and what you’ve heard is this: a complicated, yet flowing Extreme Metal album with a decidedly punk aesthetic, driven by an original and unpredictable vocal. A genre-bender of the highest order, the VHÖL debut deserves a spot on your list. -Jim


~ by cliftonium on April 17, 2013.

4 Responses to “VHÖL – S/T”

  1. This is coming in the mail any day now. I heard this about a week ago and loved it instantly. Really cool album! Good review!

  2. Goddamn, KK Downing/Glen Tipton-sized guitar harmonies? Mike Scheidt out of his doomy comfort zone? John fuckin’ Cobbett?? And to top it off it’s released on Profound Lore??? Shiiiit!!! Gotta have it…

  3. I bought this unheard and initially didn’t like it at all – a fault, probably, of my own desire to pin the album down to a genre. By the end of my second listen, listening to the music itself rather than my own attempts to pigeon hole it, I loved it. I just find myself wishing for Mike Scalzi’s mid range clean singing instead of some of the harsh vocals, which to me don’t quite work. That would have really crowned this fine achievement, but then again it would maybe have been too close to early Hammers/Slough Feg.

  4. I admit/agree Mike’s clean-singing/falsetto moments on here are my favorite of the mix of styles he uses on the album as well, though his Tom Warrior-isms are a very close second (due to my Celtic Frost obsession) – thanks for sharing your thoughts, Pete!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: