Vehement – Ashes
Album Review by Adam McCann
The south-east of England may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about black metal, but this burgeoning scene is home to many of England’s finest extreme metal bands. Counted amongst these are Vehement, who release their second album ‘Ashes’ following a noteworthy appearance at Bloodstock Open Air Festival last year. Vehement set their stall out in 2013 with their debut album ‘Collapse’ and have spent the subsequent years promoting and supporting its release as well as writing and rehearsing new material.
‘Ashes’ does not disappoint, not only does it take the abusive guitars, guttural bass, blast beat drums and lycanthrope growls found on ‘Collapse’, but it expands on them by adding beautiful serene passages, jigsaw tempo changes and piercing melodic guitar solos that make this young band able to stand alongside the likes of Immortal, Mayhem, Dissection and Darkthrone. Furthermore, it is the addition of a more operatic vocal which provides the juxtaposition to the raspy growl giving Vehement a rather tasteful duality.
Being able to mention Vehement in the same breath as these classic trailblazing black metal bands is testament to the quality that goes into the song writing within the band and tracks such as the progressive ‘The Turn of Passage’ could easily stand alongside Emperor, whilst the driving riffs of ‘Tidal Verse’, ‘Thematic’ and ‘Far Below Us’ equally push the band forward.
Although there isn’t a definitive stand-out track on ‘Ashes’, there are elements to each song which are excellent, the drum-beat in the closing minute of ‘Far Below Us’ is particularly brilliant. Moreover ‘Ashes’ delivers what it set out to do and that is to provide showcase for the underground English black metal scene to which ‘Ashes’ is a decent benchmark.
Rating : 7/10
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann