False Haven

OK so, I guess let’s get the confusing stuff out of the way first, yeah? Vorder is the current iteration of a Swedish Doom/Sludge/Progressive band many of you might have known as V, but with a bit of a new lineup consisting of former Katatonia, In Mourning and Disrupted drummer and current Grand Cadaver drummer Daniel Liljeqvist on, uh, drums… and Marcuz Macka Lindqvist from Burn the Plague and Maggot Infested Ventriculus on bass. Got it? Cool.

The original lineup of consisted of Swedish hardcore and metal scene stalwarts Andreas Bair and Jonas Gyrth (still with the band) who formed the original starting point of called Amend, who were the next iteration of the band Clean Shade of Dirty featuring guitarist Per Sodomizer Eriksson of Bloodbath and Katatonia fame. So for those keeping track, it’s Clean Shade of DirtyAmend > Vorder which, according to the band, is a change made to celebrate the band making it out the other side of the pandemic, calling it an “upgrade to: V order, the order of V which is written as: Vorder.”

Why is all this important? I DUNNO! But the band mention this all in the press pack attached to this record sooooo… I guess they thought you might want to know? Now you know!

Anyway, this album is pretty friggin’ neat.

Speaking of the pandemic, before it hit, the band formerly known as (and all those other ones) made a live recording on top of a mountain because… why not? I guess (?) it’s called Led Into the Wild and, you can see parts of it on Youtube but the rest is apparently impossible to find. Countless Google and Youtube searches turn up nothing (I tried every version of the band’s name that I know of), and the couple videos that you can sort-of find have been viewed only a couple hundred times since they were posted a year and a half ago. I only bring this up because it seems to point to a pattern of this band doing needlessly VERY difficult and complicated things for a payoff that, as far as I can tell anyway, is very minimal. Don’t get me wrong, the videos I can see are pretty dang cool! I’d love to see more! But the product just seems inaccessible. It’s really mysterious! Spooky, even, which is entirely appropriate given the type of atmospheric, dreary (in the best way), eerie Scandinavian Doom and Post-Hardcore we find on False Haven. From the ominous album cover, to the murky production, to the pacing and tone of the entire experience, Vorder create a palpable atmosphere of internal anguish, hopelessness and fear, and yet… somehow an introspective beauty that come together for a satisfying, if oppressive listen.

From the first note of “Introspective,” the tone is set with unmistakable dread – there’s a mournful, desolate quality to the opening guitars that let you know straight away this is not going to be an invigorating experience. But where you may be lead to believe the band may follow with something slow, plodding, maybe even a bit airy – the band instead goes for an immediate gut punch of heaping Isis/Pelican inspired Post-Hardcore riffs that carry the weight of a thousand dying suns, while vocalist Andreas Baier’s tortured screams seem to be hurdled to the heavens themselves, drenched in a sort of bitter agony and spite aimed at whoever would listen. It’s the sort of murk and mire that worships at the temple of Neurosis and Old Man Gloom, while culling from the emotional depths of the likes of Harakiri for the Sky or Numenorean, perhaps no more bleakly than on “The Few Remaining Lights,” which (I think?) features a guest vocal spot from… someone. Whoever it is carries a disoriented, mournful tune that lends itself perfectly to the vibe (if this is just what Andreas’ cleans sound like, my apology for the mix-up) Vorder are conjuring, and just to add an even greater sense of doom, the band breaks out the use of organs on the track that, along with the track’s plodding, cavernous riffs, transport you to a moth and cobweb-ridden crypt that, by the sounds of things, may well end up your eternal resting place. It’s such a perfectly suited track for this album that I just find myself wanting even more of it when it’s over.

Thankfully, it’s certainly not an end to the oppression. The horrifically foreboding “Judgement Awaits” could well be a final dirge for the sort of person who enters death with trepidation – knowing full well that if there is an afterlife, they’re not destined for a very peaceful one. There’s a fantastic build before the song’s mournful solo that pounds like the hammering heartbeat of a death row inmate strapped to the chair, just waiting for their executioner to throw the switch and send them to whatever form of eternity awaits them. Similarly, album closer “Come Undone” plays out like someone who’s reached the end of their rope, simultaneously dragging their feet to an inevitable, ugly end – and lashing out the entire way at every injustice and grievance that’s been heaped upon them. I’ll be honest, like a lot of Doom, it’s 10+ minutes probably isn’t entirely necessary, but regardless it’s still a perfectly fitting end to this dreary affair.

By all accounts, this could well be the last we hear of the name Vorder before the band goes back into hibernation for a bit and reemerges as, like Vorder.X or Vorderian or some other moniker with an equally confusing explanation. Who knows! What I do know is that for now, Vorder have created a wonderfully deep and dark record that certainly makes the Scandinavian tradition of high-quality doom proud. Here’s to hoping False Haven gets the attention is rightfully deserves.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
July 12th, 2023


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