If you are looking for something wholly uncharted in the Rock and Metal scene, you need to check out VŌDŪN. The new album, POSSESSION, incorporates the best of Hard Rock and Metal, as well as a myriad of other musical styles, while keeping close links to its lyrical subject matter and the style of music that associates with that. What is this subject matter, you might ask? Well, if the title of the album didn’t give it away, it is voodoo, or rather that actual voodoo you know very little about.
Kicking it all off is Loas Kingdom is a fantastic opener for this record. Hard hitting, imaginative and absolutely driven by the divine vocals of Chantal Brown, the track is a stonkingly bold opener to what promises to be something wholly new. Bondeye redirects to a beautiful fusion of slowed-down beats, chilled out and methodical, and layers over guitars riffs that pull this into a world of its own. It’s a song you should try and listen to lyrically as well as for its rhythms, as the brief song melds into the bluesy Bloodstones. The importance of the lyrical content is pivotal in making this record fully realised, but the overall feel of the music is smooth, warm and often satisfyingly heavy.
It’s unusual to have such a strong female voice mixed in with the heavier rock, with only a few truly memorable female vocalists getting the recognition in the genre. You should keep your eyes open for this one, because Brown is somethings of a blessing. Powerful, full of intention but never overdone or strained, she carries this full bodied and genre blending music with ease.
Oya turns up the heat again, bringing in the faster drums and the noodling of guitars that makes you want to move. It’s very impressive how much noise comes out of three people here, everything balanced yet equally stands up on its own. There’s some pretty gnarly guitar work going on, clashing against the vocals at times, in a hugely satisfying way. There’s something of Brown’s previous work with DO ME BAD THINGS in the back of this, with is used to some good effect. The harder edge, which actually seems to take influence from bands like MUSE and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE is brilliant.
As an interlude, Loko feels just a little lost, and will possibly be missed on repeat listens.
Legbast Feast switches direction again, opening with some more natural, and for want of a better word, tribal, feelings in its percussion. Leaning more heavily on the previous assumptions and stereotypes of listeners, the blend of more traditional music from and the thick basslines of the chorus is substantial and just fits. As with bands such as SKINDRED, the fusion of influences in Black history and a sense of identity truly lends itself to heavy music. Bringing a sense of culture, as well as a truly unique musical identity makes VŌDŪN worth every second of your time.
The namesake of the album, Posession is a blast of riffs, blaring drums and thrashing basslines. It’s a turn towards Thrash Metal and it works sublimely. The outro, after all the energy, leaves your hairs standing to attention. Mawu is a slight turndown from the previous track, and to be honest it’s needed after such an onslaught. More on the side of Blues and Classic Rock, the beats are solid and familiar, which leads to the notion that this band really do cover it all. It’s interesting to note just how much in terms of genre mashing this record does. In some cases, a more focused record is essential, but what VŌDŪN achieve here is to mix in the influence of the lyrics into a society that otherwise knows the bare minimum on the culture of voodoo. It is an expression of musical fusion as much as it is an educational exploration. Minos Army is once again a full, weighty song with enough to it to mosh wholeheartedly, while still enjoy the echoes of many stylings throughout music.
Divinity, the penultimate track of the record, is a song with massive drum beats and some exceptional playing from all members, not to mention Brown’s dreamy wails. The throw down of drums and bass is awesome, and feels like it’s never going to give up. One to revisit, it is worth getting to this point in the record for this great tune. Finally Kanpay Rejete introduces synth elements that have not been present so far, yet another musical element that actually lends itself to the music. Feeling like something DAFT PUNK or THE PRODIGY might sample, this pulled back melody is brimming with the weight of the songs name, of the history associated the song Title. Brown really knows her stuff, and it is a talent that so clearly brings forth the emotions surrounding the subject so fervently.
As an aside note, the album was mixed by Tom Dalgety (TURBOWOLF, ROYAL BLOOD, BAND OF SKULLS) and it’s clear how the man has brought the best of this band, being no stranger to making a lot out of smaller outfits.
Indeed, this is larger than life, fun and yet filled with layered and emotional content. With such understanding of the topic focused on, POSSESSION is a record that brings a fresh feel to a scene that criminally lacks much Afro influence and history in its culture. You can’t help but find yourself consumed by this record, and loving every moment. We can only hope to see these guys gain the credit and response they deserve as one of the most interesting new bands on the scene.
Possession is set for release on March 25th via RIFF ROCK RECORDS
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