So called black metal always seems to invoke a wide range emotions from the “purists” to the modern musicians and fans alike. Once a more Nordic style of music, over the years this style has transcended geographical boundaries with entries like Absu, Agalloch, Wolves in the Throne Room and Cobalt to name a few. As the geography pushed out so did the boundaries of the style leaving us with a more enriched style of notes. Enter Vivus Humare and their latest offering “Einkehr” into the modern fray of this ever evolving thing called black metal.
I’ll be honest, I doubt I would know a black metal band if it jumped up and bit me on the arse but their sound is what I think black metal sounds like. In the end, who cares if they call it glam-pop-accordion-speed-metal? If it’s good music, it’s good. Dave from Earsplit PR once remarked to me that, “it’s all about the riffs” and at the end of the day Vivus Humare deliver the goods. One of the things that immediately struck me about “Einkehr” is the track length, with the longest one weighing in at a hefty 13 minutes. This length is sometimes better suited to the doomier or proggier style of things but surprisingly here it works. ‘Auf morgendlichen Pfaden’, the 13-minute beast in question, even has some uniquely groove-laden riffage, also not something I would have ever associated with this style. What these grooves do is carry this massive track through its many layers of brutality. It is like walking across bridges to different parts of a city as each part is enjoyed for what it offers and here Vivus Humare offer us brutal emotional periods of guttural pleas and frenzied music. Easily my favorite track and the highlight of the release.
‘Der Schmerz weckt’ and ‘Traum’ somehow capture the essence of the style, with frenzied percussion work, booming guitars and diaphragmatic blaring which are amalgamated into a dark and brutal piece of music. Music and vocals are well timed and the waves created with the tempos throughout are well placed and balanced near perfectly. This is not five tracks on one release but rather five interludes in one long piece. One really can’t extract out one track on this as this is one of those albums that has to be experienced in its entirety. Truly a piece of modern black metal to be taken in all at once.
“Einkehr” is a dark, brutal and even melodic slice of the more extreme side of metal. There is no pop or hairspray in this release, only artistic emotion and well composed delivery of Vivus Humare’s interpretation of those emotions. If this is black metal, count me in again; if it’s not black metal then count me in anyway. Like Dave said, it’s all about the riffs and these lads have brought the riffs and more. If you never heard of Vivus Humare, go now and give them a listen but give yourself time and darkness to fully appreciate what “Einkehr” has to offer.