Vorvaň is a hardcore band from Russia. They have been kicking in teeth since 2012, and now with Kurt Ballou helming production, they are ready to release Once Love Was Lost. The band has shared the stage with such notable acts as Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror and Walls of Jericho. Will this album rise to the occasion as it is being lauded: one of the best hardcore albums of the year? Or will it dwindle into obscurity?
So much at stake! Shut up and tell us about the album, Flight, you drama-queen. Very well. Like the Gothic, black and white imagery of the cover, Once Love Was Lost is a dark and somewhat sinister affair. This isn`t a simple matter of punk and metal aggression; like many bands from the Swedish HC scene (Grieved), the album carries a bleak atmosphere filled with suffocating smog and grey horizons. "Of Menace and Favour" makes this clear from the outset with its sludgy chords and pounding drums.
Early on we touch on something that I love about this album: the tracks can be very different. After the opening anthem`s drudgery, "Sirens" jars the senses with some highly dissonant mathcore. Meghan O'Neil Pennie (Punch, Super Unison) and her intense shrieking make this track truly violent. Then we just get some old-fashioned D-beat fun on "Third Case Scenario" along with a deliciously dirty South interlude a la Every Time I Die. Across the board there is some great riffage and energetic work on the kit. Two words: "Breothan" outro.
I might argue that Once Love Was Lost feels slightly overlong for a hardcore album, but given the overall strong compositions and Kurt`s always strong direction on production I can more than live with it. Lengthy tracks like "Celestine" aren't the ones I`ll find myself listening to the most, but they certainly carry some power. They`re progressive in a similar sense as some of Norma Jean`s closing epics. In any case, Vorvaň have certainly created an impressive, punchy album that demonstrates a variety of strengths. HC album of the year? We`ll just have to see.