While Voidescent (what’s in a name) isn’t exactly a new band, it might be more likely that the previous incarnation of the band is better known. As Andhord, the Spanish quartet released a couple of demos and an EP before changing their name in 2017. After releasing the EP ‘Eleven Into Nox’ under their new banner, the very first full-length is now upon us bearing the shape of ‘Dust and Embers’, released through the rather on fire label Avantgarde Music.
Those that are familiar with for instance the Andhord demo ‘Revelation’ will find that the band has traded in some of the more obvious Mayhem influences as well as the raw sound, but have kept the choking tonality. The more obvious influence of Deathspell Omega or Svartidauði that were still very present on ‘Eleven into Nox’ is a bit more subdued as well on the debut. Not that these influences, or an overlap with acts like Slidhr or Rebirth of Nefast, aren’t there anymore. But what is evident is that on ‘Dust and Embers’ there is one band that the Spaniards musically have an awful lot in common with: Sinmara. To be precise, they sound closest to the Icelanders’ phenomenal debut ‘Aphotic Womb’. And to come with some sort of a conclusion mid-story: That ‘Dust and Embers’ comes awfully close to what I regard as a masterpiece is a nothing but a compliment.
Some of the obvious paraleles between both full-lengths is the same dissonant undertone, the ravaging wall of drums, the escalating guitar chaos and possessed vocals. Damn, are those vocals unhinged on ‘Dust and Embers’ in the fantastic closing track ‘Arcane Enlightenment – The Bone Offering’. The atmosphere on the album is vile and suffocating, with the drums being particularly overwhelming while the dissonant and shifting guitar play causes a strong sense of discomfort and unease. But ‘Dust and Ember’s isn’t just a carbon copy of ‘Aphotic Womb’. The delicate surfacing of subtle solos in ‘Black Crowned Triangle’ is certainly a delight, while the way the band plays with threatening pace in ‘Cauldrons of Sabbath’ is majestic. In general the songwriting is excellent as songs build towards an apotheosis, or escalate into a dissonant cacophony, but do so coherently and above all, in intriguing fashion. It’s the sort of album where you don’t realize each song is around the seven minutes plus mark until you notice 45 minutes have passed by once you’re ready to give the album another spin.
‘Dust and Embers’ is an impressive album that comes awfully close to ‘Aphotic Womb’. Since I have that album etched as one of the best Black Metal albums of the past decade, that is both a great compliment as well as a tall order to match. But something tells me I will be listening to ‘Dust and Embers’ a lot going forth, and certainly the bright future of Voidescent is something I will continue to closely follow.