Vehemenz
Vehemenz EP
(MDD)

Germany’s Vehemenz is one of those rare and exciting ‘diamond in the rough’ discoveries lurking in relative obscurity in the metal underground.  Hopefully this enticing debut self-titled EP will boost the band’s profile, because it’s an utterly enthralling, haunting black metal experience that is not easily forgotten. Despite Vehemenzsignalling the band’s debut release, they’ve been together since 2010, obviously honing their innovative sound to a fine point during these past several years. The six-piece, featuring three guitarists, play a dynamic and dissonant brand of modern black metal that doesn’t ape any one particular sound or band, instead tracking their own path while keeping the genres trademark values close to the surface. Although the songwriting innovation of mid-era Enslaved and crafty off-kilter dissonance of Blut Aus Nord comes to mind, Vehemenz sounds like a fresh and exciting new entity, forging this confident and impressive debut.

For an EP release, Vehemenz has a very epic feel about it, particularly through the graceful transitions and startling dynamics on the lengthier compositions, like opener “Bote des Nichts” and the majestic slow building closer “Der Traum… im Chaos vereint”. If the song titles weren’t a big enough give away, I can confirm all the lyrics are sung in German. Not that it really matters as I doubt they would be easily decipherable in English, and the power and conviction in vocalist Inclusus’ delivery bleeds emotion and anguish during a top notch performance.

Vehemenz use atmosphere and melody to great effect, as slower clean passages and melodic strokes are elegantly interwoven with the fiercer blackened components of their sound.  The tremolo picked riffs, violent blasts, and devilish growls are expertly offset by expansive and versatile instrumental passages that transition with prog-like fluency and cohesion amid some almost spacey textures. Vehemenz keep themselves grounded, avoiding veering off course or wasting a second of the concise but hefty (by EP standards) 35-minute running time.   If this sounds all a bit weird or avant-garde for the average black metal fan, then perhaps I’m not doing a good enough job of describing Vehemenz.  Because fear not, the more typical aspects of the genre are generously strewn throughout, with the devastating assault of ‘Stille Um Mich” a particularly powerful example of Vehemenz’s primal and aggressive instincts.

Furthermore the instrumental prowess from the band is highly impressive, harnessing a wonderful balance between technical proficiency, haunting melody, dissonance and groove.  The latter element is one I’ve neglected to mention up until now, but it’s an aspect worthy of high praise. Rarely have I heard a black metal band capable of incorporating the kind of ultra catchy, headbanging grooves into their otherwise vicious tapestry quite the way Vehemenz do here, and never at the expense of the overall cohesion or flow of the songwriting.  Just check out the groove at the 1:21 minute mark of the sublime “Fragment 1” or the sinister dirge that crops up backed by an otherworldly howl at the 1:35 mark of “Leben gleich Nebel”.  The band hit the nail on the head sonically as well, through a slick but natural sounding production with a modern sheen, enabling the listener the opportunity to isolate each instrument and pick out the intricacies within.

Vehemenz occupy a space in limbo between the not-quite-unorthodox but certainly atypical realms of black metal, unleashing a captivating EP packed full of tight energetic performances, bleak atmosphere and memorable songwriting that masterfully balances straightforward aggression with striking innovation.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
July 18th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: Gabaghoul

    Excellent description of one of this year’s true underground gems – not to be missed for any black metal fan


  2. Commented by: Luke_22

    Yeah this deserves greater exposure than it is likely to get. A very powerful release,can’t wait to hear where these guys go from here.


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