FAST RITES: because sometimes brevity is fundamental.
Vanum, a collaboration between Michael Rekevics (Fell Voices, Vorde, others) and Kyle Morgan (Ash Borer, Predatory Light, also others), released a promising black metal album in 2015’s Realm of Sacrifice. It revealed a talent for injecting Drudkh-ish Eastern Euro sounds with a touch of the Pacific Northwest, something that hasn’t been lost on their latest release, the Burning Arrow EP.
If anything, Vanum have honed their melancholy aura by adding in even more “traditional” metal elements, while also showing a bit more efficiency (the songs aren’t quite as long). The true quality of the EP, however, is in how successfully it weaves a complete, dynamic arc over just short of 25 minutes. Opener “Watcher in the Eastern Sky” begins quite understated, spending as much time sounding like doom or folk-influenced NWOBHM as it does black metal, only hinting at the band’s full intensity. “Immortal Will” then kicks it up a notch, hitting more of the sea shanty rhythms and blasts before “Spring of Life” shows the band in full epic-melodic black metal mode, with desperation and finality and sadness and triumph all wrapped into a pretty blazing nine minute package.
All three individual songs are strong, but when taken as a whole, Burning Arrow shows notable growth for the duo. Vanum isn’t going to change the black metal landscape, but their natural beauty and knack for dynamics should please more than just a few ears.
Original release date: April 1, 2017. CD release date: August 25, 2017.
Labels: Psychic Violence Records (LP) and Eisenwald (CD).