Voidthrone – Kur (Self-Released)Tuesday, 1st May 2018
Voidthrone’s last effort, Spiritual War Tactics, was a release that offered some potential but it was bogged down by some rather lengthy tracks that seemed to get in the way of what they wanted to accomplish. Kur sees the band returning to a similar dissonant black and death metal territory, but with a bit more focus in their corner.
For starters, the band’s admittedly bleak and draining sound only produces a much more digestible 24-minutes this time around. It’s entirely more manageable at said length, and there’s only one 9-minute track to absorb. While these pieces may seem petty and small, it does seem to make a world of difference in Voidthrone’s appeal. The tracks have more resolve to them, and the combination of feral aggression, dissonant layering, and crawling doom are more cohesive. Speaking of layering, this isn’t going to be a ‘grasp it in one listen’ type affair, with some of the entertainment in listening will stem from repeat performances, where you can dissect out the components or focus in on one piece of the puzzle. There is a lot to take in. The shining star of the band is still their atmosphere, which can move from utterly filthy crawls (“Their Recursive Communion”) to more terrifying and crazed bursts of speed (“Phantasm Epoch”), while hitting some mid-tempo in between. Like similar-minded bands (Imperial Triumphant or Deathspell Omega) the feeling of darkness is palpable and ever-present.
A step up from their last release, Kur establishes Voidthrone as being willing to hone their craft to make their dissonant material more pointed and deadly. Though it does still seem to follow much of the playbook established by other acts, it’s clear they are moving in the right direction towards a more promising (and unsettling) appeal.