Published Nov 11, 2020The saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" can be applied to a lot of metal music. There are bands who have built entire 30-plus year careers off of hashing out the same music again and again, and legions of fans who haven't had any problem with it. There's even scenes and sub-genres whose groups have all had similar musical tendencies, aesthetics and even lyrical content.
Every now and again, however, a band comes along that is like absolutely nobody else. One such band transcending the boundaries of metal and taking the genre in strange new directions is Toronto's Völur. On their third album Death Cult, the avant-garde doom trio seem to have found their footing and developed their sound, resulting in a truly unique and utterly immersive listening experience. It may be difficult to imagine heavy metal without guitars — but with only bass, drums and violin, Völur not only make it work, but also create music that would be criminal to label as merely one style. Among the heavy doom stomps and sinister growled vocals, there are elements of jazz, folk, classical and even opera.
Sitting at only four tracks long, Death Cult may look like a short album, or even an EP, but make no mistake — with a nearly 40-minute runtime, this is unquestionably a full album. Once it reaches the end, it does feel like it could have been longer, but only because of how enjoyable a listen it is; the record could be double the length it is and still not grow stale. In fact, each individual track feels like its own journey — particularly the immensely climactic 11-minute-long "Freyjan Death Cult."
The best part about what Völur has done with Death Cult is its ability to challenge what the metal umbrella can encompass. This is an album that will undoubtedly be loved by doom fans, but it has enough versatility to fit within the tastes of many non-metal listeners as well. (Prophecy)