Released: 2014, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Poland's VESANIA return with their fourth album in “Deus Ex Machina” and caps a fine year for guitarist and vocalist Orion, whose other band BEHEMOTH have also returned with a stellar contribution to extreme metal. Stylistically, the two bands share a penchant for the epic orchestral flourishes but it's VESANIA that retains the biting cold and icy atmosphere of both bands origins. So how does this album rate?
Ripping opener “Halflight” gives a clear indication of the album: fast, cold and with enough symphonic grandeur to trouble a small orchestra. But where so many albums fall flat with these symphonic elements, often suffering from a poor mix with either side of the musical spectrum having too much presence over the other, VESANIA are veritable veterans and have it nailed down. Beautifully balanced together and working in total harmony, the symphonic passages work in tandem with the black metal blasts and raise it up tenfold. “Vortex” spirals down in a whirlwind of trade-off riffs and crescendo strings, with “Notion” carefully weaving melodious phrases in-and-out of the maelstrom.
The songwriting shows the band's experience; every song is meticulously crafted, wonderfully written and balanced. At no point does it feel laboured or forced; simply free-flowing and powerful. The aforementioned production is spot-on, with every band member securing his own space and allowed the time to demonstrate their excellent musicianship, both individually and as a band. “Deus Ex Machina” never strays into the realms of pomposity, either – often, supposed symphonic bands will attempt to ram home their classical penchant and over-produce/overcomplicate proceedings. Not here. And praise be to that.
This is quite a different beast altogether from BEHEMOTH. Fans will find parallels between the two, but VESANIA's release here seems leaner and more aggressive than the former. Strong songwriting, powerfully mixed and sounding colder than the coldest day in Oymyakon – what could be better for this genre? This is quite simply among the finest frost-bitten and vast-sounding symphonic black metal to grace the metal community's ears this year.
Review by: Lee Carter