Reviewed: August 2021
Released: 2021, Vacula Productions
Reviewer: Svetlana Likhacheva
Dystopia is a second creation of Vargstuhr, a melodic black metal one man project from Spain. Just as his previous full-length Howlings, it is a concept record telling us a finished and philosophical story. As Vargstur claims itself, this focused on the criticism of the instrumental reason that governs contemporary societies, and for which we have lost our ability to awe ourselves in the presence of nature. Alienated, technocratic human society has to face the wrath of our home planet – this is the main point of the story.
The vast landscape of the creator’s mind lead us to One Dimensional Man. The opening track represents the futuristic society – fast, with rapid transitions, refined and synthetic. And this messy, noisy “society” evokes uncomfortable, gloomy, uncanny feelings. A sense of vague anxiety and approaching disaster elevates in the following track – Reified Nature. Nicely composed guitars helps to increase the overall eeriness of the composition. The cataclysm gets stronger in The Force of the Ancient Earth – my favourite one from the record.
Starting with a great intro, the song indeed gives a vibe of some creepy ancient powers awakening. Multiplied voices effects suits here perfectly, helping to create an intimidating “ghostly” atmosphere. Despite the fact that I was not impressed with the rest of the vocals, it is a good song with a great rhythmic chorus.
The human-nature conflict reaches its climax in The Flames Swept the Earth, and, to my mind, it should have been made much stronger – or at least different from others. The only thing I really liked in this track was the small part with clean vocals. They actually sound better and more interesting than Vargstuhr’s average growling. I would be pleased if he used his beautiful and interesting clean voice a little more.
All the songs that go past the climax didn’t make any strong good impression on me either. I am not saying they are bad or poorly composed, but to my mind, they lack something – creativity, atmosphere, or strength. They have good and logical composing structure – for example, in Rebirth there is a major transition in the middle, after the tragic first half. So, this transition is to represent the very moment of the “rebirth”, and it reads clear. Although, the rest of the track doesn’t sound much different from the beginning, which I find a little strange.
Overall, Dystopia is a good record and I really appreciate the hard work of Vargstuhr. However, it definitely has moments that can be seriously improved – average vocals (except for clean ones), weak climax points, boring composition of chorus in several songs and repeating drumming patterns. With this said, I would still wish Dystopia the best of luck in the black metal world.
1. One Dimensional Man
2. Reified Nature
3.The Force of the Ancient Earth
4. The Flames Swept the Earth
5. Under the Shadow of the Desolation
7. The Forgetfulness of the Mankind Reign
Vargstuhr: Vocals, guitars, bass and programming