lunes, 15 de abril de 2013

Review: Von Leufel - Wolf's Path (2013)

There are times that the coincidences of life make us discover some interesting stuff. Almost a year ago, I decided to contact Christophe Szpajdel, the legendary "Lord Of The Logos" to request him (obviously) a logo for a personal project dedicated to elaborate logos for bands (perhaps a bit ironic). He was simply the right guy for that, and practically my main inspiration for this project. In this talk, Szpajdel talked to me about a band called Von Leufel, for which he had to make a logo. I listen to this band, and then he asks me to collaborate with him. Well, I made a sketch with the basic idea, which was transformed later into the current logo stylized by Szpajdel

Well, where am I going with all of this? This band called for my attention, having a unique sound, an idea, and a solid proposal. Emerged from the ashes of Vampiria, a band of melodic/gothic black metal, Von Leufel does not fall into the characteristics of a generic black metal band, they present a unique sound and refreshing characteristics for a not-very-exploited genre in Argentina. That being said, let’s see what this quartet has brought in their hands.

"Revealing Of The Dark Oath" begins, in mid-tempo and with a quite dense atmosphere, promising to be an interesting track. The gutturals merge and alternate with the clean vocals very naturally, exposing a lot of fluidity at the time of composition. Several interesting elements in the song can be appreciated, from some progressive winks, to the most classic heavy metal arrangements, but without a single lost in the ferocity and power of black metal. When it comes to getting hard, they don’t hesitate a single moment: speed changes are accomplished with ease and an overwhelming sound. First track passes the first "test" easily.

With "Wolf’s Path" we are introduced to a raw band, that in 4 minutes (the shortest track from the EP) attacks us with pure blast beat, showing an impressive control by Johann V, allowing himself to add different textures and nuances at the same time he accelerates deeply. The only calm section of the track presents again progressive elements that fit pretty well with the compositions, enhancing and making those tracks more enjoyable. Pure intensity and devastation, with a distinctive signature that starts being clearly outlined.

In "Soul Devoured Warrior", first track’s mid-tempos make a comeback, relaxing the listener after the intensity of the previous track. To that end, they include a chorus with a lot of "hook", later presenting a break, a speed turnover, achieving an interesting counterpoint. If there is something that we shall notice is that tracks tend to be quite extensive, including durations between six to eight minutes; nevertheless all those tracks pass quickly, without becoming excessively dense or boring. Von Leufel manages to keep the listener interested and entertained by the compositions. We must also highlight how good the guitar and keyboard complement each other (thanks to Demian and Misael, respectively), alternating command or sharing melodic sections with excellent results.

The fourth track, "Sons Of The Serpent", became my favorite track of the EP. A speed /thrash basis takes over the song, becoming very addictive itself. The keyboard base, always present, mingles perfectly with the main idea of the song, managing to be stuck in your mind with ease. To be an auto-produced EP, they really did a great job  referring to the final mix, where instruments sound balanced and there is no "saturated" sections, everything is audible (though the bass is somewhat relegated) and you can easily appreciate the general work. A very enjoyable and entertaining song, showing the variety of things the band works with.

It is in the fifth song, "The Battle Of Thousand Years", where I’ve been left with a question:  Why to start almost every track with an extended yell? I mean, it’s ok on a couple of tracks, but then it becomes a little exasperating. Taking that detail off, Von Leufel attacks with ferocity at the beginning, to be developing then a very interesting track with different rhythmic sections that once again demonstrate the enormous quality and cohesion that the band has. It’s another high point in EP, nine impeccable minutes in all matters referring to execution and composition.

The final track, "Midnight Gathering" is the most traditional heavy metal focused track, with an exquisite riff that sustains its interest thanks to the combination of the progressive elements that appear to be built-in, coupled with the ease of which elements of such distinct genres as black and extreme metal blend with their father genre. As we listen to this track, it’s impossible not to be surprised, especially with that flirting with hard rock in blues key solo, ending into a magnificent result. Simply amazing.

This is the debut of a band that has a long future, and in urgent need of a flawless production in order to catapult those ideas and that sound to the next level. A proposal that pairs with Heksabort and Inexistence as the best and most interesting ideas concerning to black metal in Argentina, deserving to be highly valued by everyone.

Score: 87/100

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