Reviewed: April, 2018
Released: 2018, Blood Harvest Records
Reviewer: Andrew Cook
I have a confession to make. I am an Australian, and I love my Metal both Blackened and Deathly, and I like to think I have kept up with the game over the past few decades, but alas it seems I have not. Yes I have heard of Vahrzaw, and maybe over the years I have inadvertently heard some of their music, but I have never actually HEARD them. In the maddening quest to keep up with everything out there I have again failed to look right under my proverbial nose as they say.
Hailing from Victoria, which for the unknowing is pretty much at the bottom of Eastern Australia, you could be forgiven for thinking these fine chaps have actually come to us straight from Cthulhu’s lounge room (if he had one) such is their intensity. The sad news is that after around 25 years of playing together they have pretty much had enough of the bullshit and are likely to give us all the one finger salute and return to the murky depths never to be seen again.
Why is this sad you ask? After all you have pretty much just decided to pay them some attention when you could have all along. The answer lies in the music my friends. Murky and furious, black as a witch’s tit and more deathly than the Grim Reaper’s robes sums it up nicely. There is certainly no lack of technical ability on display here have no doubt, and Varzhaw show a perfect example of how to mix things up tempo wise as well to keep you on your toes.
Vocalist George Van Dorn belts out a kind of mid range ghoulish barking then drops down to the sound of the horror lurking in the sewers at midnight at will. Accompanying him on this ride into the darkest of places is Scott Williams on both the guitar and bass, all rumbling bottom end and gritty riffery of the highest order on show, some of his lead work is superbly reminiscent of days gone by. Each musical passage a journey further and further down into the swirling miasma of despair. Let us not forget to mention the skin pounding abilities of Brandon Gawith, the perfect beat and tempo delivered right on cue with nary a fill out of place. Superb stuff.
All songs are dark perfection, but both ‘The King in Yellow’ and ‘The Epitaph of Garmonbozia (Parts I and II)’ really captured my imagination with their dark imagery and delivery, but who am I kidding. To miss one song on this album would be a travesty of epic proportions. Blasting away one minute then slowing it down the next to really dig that blackened boot in, Vahrzaw leave us in no doubt as to their capabilities.
That’s what makes the whole thing even gloomier. If this is to be their swansong then a finer one they couldn’t have mustered, but I for one certainly hope it is not. Take a listen to the frontal battery of ‘Kneel Kiss Kill’ and tell me you wouldn’t listen to more of this if they considered us worthy of just a little more. Closer, ‘Husk’ is about as good as this kind of Metal can be, with a little bit of everything thrown in for good measure.
Hopefully this is not farewell, but if it is, then Vahrzaw will now be mighty legend.