Vorga – Beyond the Palest Star (Transcending Obscurity)

Wednesday, 3rd April 2024
Rating: 9 / 10

Vorga certainly made a plunge into the cosmos with their exhilarating debut Striving Toward Oblivion, giving a blisteringly fierce purview of space-inspired black metal. Difficulty in establishing oneself is a hurdle that has been overcome with Vorga; now, the question inevitably must be how they follow up what was one of the standout black metal albums of 2022. Space is an unforgiving void, and Beyond the Palest Star represents these German’s attempt to further expand their presence within it.

Harkening back to Striving Toward Oblivion, the immediate tone set by the biting “Starless Sky” was that of frenetic velocity and cold black metal terror. From there, nary a letup was detectable. On Vorga’s new venture, we launch on the back of “Voideath” to a more overarching opening. A slow, ominous intro sets the scene, and then the blast occurs in gallops of chilling, layered guitars. Loads of crunch abound, followed stealthy by a tremolo that moves to warp without notice. The rest of the six minute plus jaunt exhibits a forward thinking Vorga, constructing ideas that build off of each other to pull the listener along for a neck-shattering ride.

“The Sophist” continues the band’s ever scopious approach, this time leaning towards a methodical direction that impacts differently, but is no less potent. Absolutely engaging yet mystifying, this is one of the most memorable entries on Beyond the Palest Star. Awash with lush keyboards and a drawn out rhythm section is “Magical Thinking,” itself a representation of how well Vorga can conjure a mysteriously foreboding atmosphere. Songs such as “The Cataclysm” bring moments of furious speed that we know well, entrenched with an aura matching that of a supernova, whereas “Tragic Humanity” takes an effectively measured approach to carving into the bleakness.

Saving the most adventurous for last, “Terminal” holds little back while managing to continuously progress into new realms, all while never losing a millisecond of cinematic energy. From the magnificent synths that coerce the ear effortlessly, each block builds upon the one previous, culminating as an incessantly enjoyable composition that etches itself permanently into the desolate sky. Songwriting-wise, Vorga have absolutely leveled up to a new astral plane, displaying new tricks and maneuvers without sacrificing their trademark vibrancy. There’s noticeable breathing room and poise throughout Beyond the Palest Star that enhances the overall package, making this a more mature and calculated effort.

The whole cosmic black metal style has welcomed a number of acts in recent years who have added their own singular observations, such as Inherits the Void and labelmates Imperialist. Vorga however currently have traveled deepest into the bleak reaches of space and black metal, having metastasized a stellar sophomore release that many must take notice of. Beyond the Palest Star showcases a band growing exponentially before our very eyes, improving upon a first album that had very little in the way of critical points. It’s evident that much like the vast reaches of the universe, Vorga’s ceiling is seemingly limitless, proving to be our guide of choice to zones of twilight.

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