Reviewed: June, 2020
Released: 2020, Shadow Records / Regain Records
Reviewer: Jack Merry
Swedish black metal outfit VOODUS return with a brand new mini-album entitled “Open the Otherness.” Consisting of two songs clocking in at 25 minutes in length, the four-piece have honed their craft and put out an album that is quintessentially pure and proud black metal, whilst providing lashings of melodic lead work and ethereal passages.
Two years after the release of their debut effort “Into the Wild”, VOODUS expand on the delicious and violent sound that was present to create something eerily beautiful.
I’m not normally a fan of black metal, I’m largely a child of doom, sludge, thrash and classic heavy metal. Having said that, there’s something about this particular mini-album that draws me in. The title is strangely endearing, encouraging listeners to open the otherness. So I did just that, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found within.
Opening track ‘Open the Otherness’ is a beautifully arranged song that flows effortlessly between mammoth riff passages and acoustic parts very nicely. Coupled with the incredible album artwork, it has a very cosmic and almost Lovecraftian feel to it. The melancholia. The unknown. The fear. The madness. The beauty. It’s all in ‘Open the Otherness,’ and it makes for an incredible listening experience.
The second track ‘Pillars of Fire’ begins with a stop-start rhythm pattern and a chugging riff before launching into a typical black metal tune. It abruptly cuts short, and a quiet melodic section rings out as a soulful lead plays out; turning the track into a pseudo-Pink Floyd affair for a couple of minutes. A violent and sudden eruption occurs and the black metal stylings return, as the vocalist kicks into gear with tales of occultism and despair. This track is all about balance, and it works really well. VOODUS excel at creating lush soundscapes and bringing in the elements of black metal.
I love the cosmic aspect of this mini-album. As mentioned earlier, the gorgeous artwork gels nicely with the music. Staring into the huge void of space on the cover with the ethereal sounds of VOODUS just enhances the complete musical experience.
The bass guitar sounds excellent throughout, as it can be heard lunging and thumping exactly where it should be, and the drums are just as good. Vocals are mixed really well, and the guitars create a thick wall of sound that’s just right for the genre. In terms of production, it’s near flawless.
VOODUS have a fantastic offering here, and any fan of the genre should listen to this upon release. My only wish was that it was longer, but that’s more of a selfish nitpick than real criticism. “Open the Otherness” is a great release, and for anybody looking to get into the genre of black metal, this may be a good place to start.