Vaura – The Missing (Profound Lore)

Wednesday, 23rd October 2013
Rating: 9/10

What a curious and loving surprise. Passed on to me as an ‘artsy black metal’ album and coming with no previous experience, I don’t think the initial descriptor could’ve been further from the truth or my reaction to it any more positive. Shocking from the word go and seething with surprising twists and turns, The Missing is a progressive and obscenely melodic take on an idea that is otherwise inconceivable, coming off at times like a cross between Krallice and The Smiths (yes, you can read that again if you wish).

To clarify, aside from a couple songs (the title track and “The Fire”) being anchored by blastbeats, there’s for the most part a complete lack of anything remotely metal here.  Instead the listener is sent awash in waves of cascading melodies and shimmering harmonic ridiculousness. Dreamlike and sleepy most times, the right use of force comes to the fore in album standout “Incomplete Burning” and while the bass serves as both anchor and guiding light throughout, it’s a powerhouse instrument on late album feature “Braced for Collapse.”

The Missing is at once both a peculiar and majestic experience, if only because it’s the last thing I expected to hear from what is perhaps the premiere label in all of metal right now. Progressive in the truest sense, in that it’s very given to bouts of exploration of every sonic nuance it can touch and molding it to the confines of what is often spectacular songwriting, even when the songs become stretched out (closer “Putting Flesh to Bone”).  It’s really difficult to say who exactly this would appeal to most, so it’s safe to say it’s something everyone should experience at least twice.

That first time is likely to leave one bewildered and like the best of progressive releases, The Missing only gets better with repeat indulgences.

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