Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Virium - Mortui Resurgent

Release Date: September 2015
Genre: Raw Punk Black Thrash
Country: Spain (Barcelona, Catalunya)

  • Vlad Têpes - Demo - 2009
  • Wolved by the Moonlight - Demo - 21 October 2010
  • Beyond the Gates of the Obsydian Kingdom - EP - 2012
  • Pure Hate from the Abyss - Demo - 27 October 2012
  • From the Void - Demo - 11 August 2013
  • Mortui Resurgent - Single - 8 May 2015
  • Mortui Resurgent - Full-length - September 2015
Virium is a Black Metal band from Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain. As can be heard in their music, its style is that of Raw Black Metal infused with German Black Metal influences and Punk traits. It was founded in 2009 by Dagon V. Schatten. Since then, Dagon has assembled several line-ups, most of them lasting for a short time. 

Current lineup:
  • Dagon V. Schatten - Guitars (a.k.a. Hatestrings) , Bass (session) (a.k.a. Pulse of the ancients)
  • Uruk - Vocals (a.k.a. Sentences of death & anguish)

Mortui Resurgent (The Dead Rise) is Virium's first full-length album. It was recorded during 2014 and part of 2015 in AX Studio, Barcelona.

Regarding the album's sound, it is clear and polished. These features must be understood with Raw Black Metal in mind. Mortui Resurgent does not sound like the latest Top-Billboard pop hit, as it is not crystal clear, with beautiful vocals and catchy hooks.

The album was recorded partly live in the studio. Lead guitars and drums were recorded live in the studio, playing the songs in one take without a click track. Bass and vocals were recorded in multitracks, in a more standard studio manner. This way of recording pursues a more organic sound, moving away from a copy-paste robot sound. 

What Virium has achieved sonically is a piercing but yet warm sound. The album's mix sets a well-balanced presence between the vocals, guitar, bass and drums. Instrument's notes are well defined and can be distinguished from the rest of the noise. The vocals are clear enough to be understood at times.

Let us comment Mortui Resurgent track by track:
    1. A Path of Evil Thoughts
    The record starts off in a short intro build-up that leads to the first verse. Its riff denotes the German Thrash Metal influence mentioned earlier. The sporadic use of palm muting in the guitars, letting them ring at times incites us to let go and enter Virium's Obsydian Kingdom. 

    This first verse leads to a short, early Immortal-like breakdown. After this, we return to a Thrashy bridge with vocals clear enough to be understood.

    The second verse combines the use of rhythm guitars and lead guitars, all mixed in a way that a wall of sound suddenly impacts us. 

    Just before the abrupt end of this first track a brief but evil guitar solo strikes our ears. 
      2. March of the Goat
      In contrast to the previous track, this one starts slower, with heavy riffing. This intro leads to a pounding verse of the most Thrash Black Metal kind.

      Uruk's vocals are well executed. They denote accurate technique and precise work.

      The song's mid-final verse, filled with wicked trills and leads puts the image of the March of this devilish goat in our minds.
        3. Snow Over Wallachia
        This song, as well as The Rise of Cthulhu have been already released as acoustic versions in La Veu de l'Ànima (The Voice of the Soul) the first release of Glaç, Dagon's acoustic project.

        Its melodies and chord progressions make this song a depressive track filled with despair. Once again, palm muting is rarely applied, therefore accentuating some parts when used. 

        In some slower parts, Dagon uses a chord with its octave down root added to it. This is one of the most notable Glaç features in the track.

        Snow Over Wallachia fades out smoothly, leaving us in peace and ready for the next track.
          4. Vlad Têpes
          Following the smoothness of Snow Over Wallachia, Vlad Têpes starts in a Slow&Heavy way. In this song, Thrash influences are quite noticeable.

          Right after this Thrashy verse, a sudden pure Black Metal section explodes at us, with a Norwegian Black Metal-like feeling at times.

          Stopping at mid-song, we get to another Thrash-like section. Right before the end of the song, we return to the intro.

          5. Horror Grave
          Greeted by the sound of a shovel digging a grave, we enter this song in a Slayer-like intro. From it, we jump to a more German Thrashy verse filled with piercing pinch harmonics. The whole song balances itself between these sounds and a more Immortal-like riffing.

          Overall, this song has a doomy, Depressive feel in it. It exudes a death stench further accented by the grave-digging and narration effects.
            6. Hate, Vengeance
            Hate, Vengeance sets off with a news broadcast background. This leads to a Glaç influenced intro, with touches of Immortal. This song presents us a more protest version of Black Metal, led by Punk infused riffing.

            The middle sections sound with some Darkthrone and Norwegian Black Metal influences. This one is a relentless track, that ends in a more gradual way than what we are used to in this record.

            7. Wolved (by the Moonlight)
            This track features scream and growl effects that put us in an uncomfortable mood, as if we were in a dark forest at night. This, along with the building up intro sets off for a great song. 

            Wolved (by the Moonlight) features Thrash riffing, blended with Norwegian BM progressions and at times, Heavy Metal rhythms.

            This song has a crystal clear sound, with understandable lyrics. In the final sections there are some high pitched lead guitars that contribute to this evil sounding piece.

            At the end of the song, one of the rare guitar solos in this album strikes us. Dagon's solos aid in the emphasis of the specific feel of each song. With no intention to show off, these solos are rather humble and grounded.

            8. The Cold and Distant Voice of a Shattered Soul
            The Cold and Distant Voice of a Shattered Soul starts off with a purely Glaç-like introduction, setting a gloomy mood. 

            Following this rather calm intro, the song blows up in a tireless succession of raw rhythms and true Black Metal melodies, making this song one of the greatest in Mortui Resurgent. It truly depicts the Voice of a Shattered Soul.

            Virium must get credit for creating such an aggressive work, with all its rawness, but managing to get a clean and precise sounding record.

            9. The Rise of Cthulhu
            The Rise of Cthulhu closes this great album with Punk feels. The chord progressions in this piece truly paint in our minds the image of this evil creature. In them, we can notice and appreciate the musicianship of Virium, in contrast to other Power Chord-Blast Beat bands.

            Virium has a feel for music, being able to express feelings and convey emotions with its compositions.

            Mortui Resurgent's cover art is shared between the single and the full-length record.

            It consists of a painting made by artist ‎Estel·la Juvanteny. This artist is also the author behind Virium's current and definitive logo:

            EDIT: The album is already available. The Bandcamp player now points to the full LP.
            EDIT 2: The band has made the album available for free as a digital download through their website.

            At the time of writing this review, Mortui Resurgent is still unpublished with only two of the album's tracks released as a single. Mortui Resurgent will be released in September 2015 independently as a digital download through Bandcamp. Its minimum price will be 5€, but as all Bandcamp downloads allow, the buyer can offer a greater amount of money. Eventually it will be released also on other digital platforms as well as in physical format. Whether it is CD, Vinyl, Cassette or any other format is still unknown.

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