Saturday, November 10, 2007

Vrag - Vrag 2007

Vrag, on this release at least, have labelled their music as droning black/doom metal. Doesn't sound very appealing, does it? Musicians seem to use the word 'droning' in their genre description to poorly disguise a lack of talent. Although I doubt that any of the musician/s behind Vrag are virtuosos, they aren't trying to hide a lack of talent. The droning element is pulled of well enough, especially throughout the first half of Vrag's untitled '07 release.

Lyrics don't often have any relevance when describing music, but I feel that the lyrics here are worth a mention to aid the musical description. The lyrics aren't very poetic, just the usual dark, blasphemous black metal themes, but they're written very compellingly; if you read the lyric booklet you almost forget about the music and the raw, home-recorded mic-cracking (lack of) production just to hear the next part of each song's story howled and shrieked out in reverb drenched Wormphlegm-style screams and rasps akin to Under a Funeral Moon-era Darkthrone. As I stated before, the lyrics aren't unique, but the wording and sentence structure makes them more understandable and somewhat accessible. Lines like "The dusty aeons have erased my home" demonstrate the creative wording of the band's message while still being easily understandable.

The music reminds me slightly of Katatonia's Brave Murder Day; heavily distorted guitars backed by simple drum patterns throughout repetitive songs. Guitar work is very simple: there aren't any really convincingly played riffs. Most of the time the guitars just play long, stretched out notes supported by reverbed, programmed drums or, like on songs such as 'Black Amber', aren't playing anything at all, just there to provide background noise and layering, similar to what Havohej does. The only riffs that are present are semi-tremolo strumming chords and a few changing notes present in the indiscernible sludge of the guitars. The bass, which is very prominent, does the most technical work here; strummed bass chords, varied notes and muddy bass clunking push through the guitars, propelling guitars and everything else along. Drums, programmed as mentioned before, consist of simple bass/snare patterns that alternate at various speeds, backed by cymbal ticking and ominous, reverb-laden tom toms placed in between spaces of the main body of the drumming, as well as a few blast beats that appear without warning. The songs occasionally change tempo seamlessly, moving from simple plodding underneath lifeless guitars to livlier snare work or blast beats and strumming riffs, demonstrated most notably in the song 'St. Germain'.

Vrag demonstrates droning in music quite well, along with well written lyrics and music that effectively creates atmosphere through repetition and subtlety. There is an element of uniqueness to be found on Vrag's self-titled/untitled demo, but the uniqueness is subtle, making Vrag appear to be another bedroom project when, in fact, the well pulled off combination of black metal, drone and doom metal isn't something found frequently. Interesting ideology, even if the music isn’t that appealing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yet another waste of blank CD's from Australian BM one man act Vrag. When I first heard this band I thought they had a lot of room for Improvement. But I was very very wrong.