ALBUM REVIEW: Aqua Vitae – The Voynich Code

The last few years have been very productive for THE VOYNICH CODE as 2015 saw the Portuguese tech death outfit grace the stage of UK Tech-Fest and they received a commendable response with their debut EP Ignotum with opening track Antithesis approaching almost 400,000 views on YouTube, they are aiming to keep their momentum flowing with their full length album Aqua Vitae which is due to be released on May 5th via Primordial Records.

On first inspection it was a shock to learn that the band do not possess a bassist amongst their ranks but it quickly becomes evident that their twin pronged guitar coalition of Vinicius Cunha and Andre Afonso are more than equipped to supply the low end of the spectrum with their downtuned, punishing beatdown. For a band who are considerably new to the scene they give the immediate impression that they are not to be taken lightly displaying a very polished and clinical sound as the guttural bellowing from frontman Nelson Rebelo and the meticulous precision of drummer Euler Morais gel together perfectly with the fluid elaborate guitar work. To further add to their arsenal they have incorporated synths in a similar vein to BORN OF OSIRIS and NEXILVA interwoven within the riffs which are cleverly utilised without becoming too over zealous. A perfect example of this is in the alluring intro to I, The Weak which instantly grabs your attention before diving headfirst into frenzied blastbeats and savage vocal passages.

It becomes apparent throughout Aqua Vitae that THE VOYNICH CODE aren’t afraid to get experimental throwing crazy sections and insanely high tempo disjointed flair into the mix, particularly on Born To Suffer which would have any fan of ION DISSONANCE or THE TONY DANZA TAPDANCE EXTRAVAGANZA foaming at the mouth as well as displaying thunderous, methodical riffing. The vocal collaborations provided by Jake Luhrs (AUGUST BURNS RED)Andrew Patterson and Ed Garcia (VITALISM) further reinforce the fact that the band are turning heads and making a name for themselves.

However, it is when the band suppress their erratic intensity that they become their most dynamic and gripping. Behind The Mirror showcases various flamboyant licks accompanied by enticing synths that feel a lot more digestable and immersing than the unrelenting complexity that has come before which leaves you a little bewildered. Album closer The Weight Of A Mortal’s Soul also shows a similar progressive vibe which is dowsed in groovy, technical beats, especially the last few minutes which includes brutally jabbing riffs and bone shuddering growls from Nelson Rebelo.

THE VOYNICH CODE have produced a very adept exhibition of technical proficiency in Aqua Vitae that will satiate even the most riff thirsty of tech metal worshippers but at times it feels the feverish tempo can become a little too much to absorb and a lot of the brilliance and intricacy provided by all 4 members is somewhat lost as your brain tries to decipher the onslaught from all sides. Despite this there is evidently an abundant wealth of talent at their disposal and the potential is at their finger tips to continue producing ground breaking material which will propel them into the upper eschelons of one of the most highly contested genres in metal.

Rating: 8/10

Aqua Vitae - The Voynich Code

Aqua Vitae is due for release on May 5th 2017 via Primordial Records.

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