Swinging Pendulum of Post-Black

June 29, 2016


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The hometown strikes again.  Chicago's Vukari have released their new album, Divination, and will be seeing a CD release on Bindrune August 1.  This is dark and aggressive atmospheric black metal a la UADA and Regarde Les Hommes Tomber.  The quartet has already released two other albums since 2013, but the consensus seems to be that with this latest outing they have exceeded all expectations.

Vukari's music, like their peers mentioned above, is built on a strong foundation of epic, jangly tremolo melodies.  Pounding double bass joins with furious picking and melancholic tone to construct some truly earworm compositions.  But this alone, a good album does not make.  Atmospheric black bands are a dime a dozen right now, and simply repeating the same hook over and over again just isn't enough.  Fortunately, Divination has more to offer us than just atmosphere.

For one, Vukari are no strangers to the more classic sounds of black metal.  Like Taake, they have no qualms with transitioning from these mournful tones to all-out blasts of Mayhem and Satyricon.  This is achieved through violent, headbanging power chords and Marek's always domineering harsh vocals.  No whispy, reverb-heavy howls drifting in the background for this guy; the snarls are always front and center.  "Divination II" is my personal favorite when it comes to this approach.  But that's still not enough for Vukari.  Their performances would not be complete without some notes of post-rock.

When taken as a whole, Divination plays out as a pretty progressive arrangement.  As such, the pendulum of Vukari's range swings fully in both directions.  When not channeling the threatening nature of the genre forerunners, the band is taking to the clouds with powerful sorrow.  Sometimes entire songs are dedicated to these moody movements; driven heavily by delay effects and meandering guitar lines.  Others a larger composition will widen its dynamics by shifting in this direction.  Either way, the end result keeps everything moving smoothly.  And so, in a world of pretenders, Vukari are another band that expresses what it truly means to create great atmosperic black metal.  If you are a fan of the genre, but desire more than just a few repeared tremolo lines, this is a much better way to go.