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Vonülfsrëich – Ragnarök Rising

vonülfsrëich – ragnarök rising


After its inception in 2012, the Finnish band Vonülfsrëich have released numerous releases, of which most were EPs. And on these EPs, the musical direction wasn’t always the same as the releases that became before it. While staying within the frame of raw Black Metal, the band took sidesteps to Doom Metal, depressive Black Metal and Punk. On the band’s first full-length, ‘Hyperborëan Hills’ from 2017, most of the Lo-Fi sound of some of the preceding EPs had been traded for a clearer production, with Black Metal tracks that included a variety of influences ranging from Darkthrone to Motörhead, Black Sabbath and even some Impaled Nazarene. Five years have passed since, and midway through 2022 the band’s anticipated follow-up album ‘Ragnarök Rising’ was unleashed by Fallen Temple.

Branded as epic Northern Black Metal, not much of the escapades to other genres seems apparent as ‘Ragnarök Rising’ takes off. Instead, opener ‘Nightside Voices’ and the subsequent ‘Pagan Ghoul Warrior’ have that very typical Norwegian sound, combining the sound of bands like Darkthrone and Gorgoroth with maybe a bit of the trademark riffs of the Swedish band Craft. These songs are to the point, up tempo Black Metal tracks with excellent raspy vocals.

The album takes a different turn with the 14 minute ‘Askplaneten’, a midtempo monster with minimal chord progression and a thick bass sound. Its sound is closer to the likes of Barathrum, Reverend Bizarre, later Celtic Frost or if we look more within Black Metal, the midtempo tracks that Marduk did on their albums during the first half of the 2000s. Somewhat later the song then takes a more punky Darkthrone approach, coming closer to the previous two tracks. This interplay between the threatening doomy lower pace Black Metal and the more rocking old school Norwegian sound works quite well, and the band seems to have a better hold of combining these different soundscapes into a single song. This then continues on the album closer ‘Dusk Boreal’, a 21-minute mammoth of a track. Although generally with slightly more tempo than ‘Askplaneten’, it uses the emphasized bass sound in a droning and hypnotizing midtempo fashion until later on the tempo increases and the tracks moves into a more old school Black Metal direction. It’s here that the epic Northern Black Metal style comes to full fruition, both in the epic riffs and the moody acoustic breaks that proves to be a prelude to more rocking goodness. Admittedly, tracks at this length ask a lot from the listener’s focus and it might just be a bit too lengthy for me (especially the last 5 minutes of droning noise that concludes the album), but at least the band manages to build up the tension and keep things quite dynamic.

For certain, both of these colossal tracks show the progression of the band in terms of making a more cohesive sound out of the Doom Metal and Black Metal influences that the band have incorporated over the years. Even though ‘Ragnarök Rising’ does initially show two faces, the mix of old school Norwegian Black Metal and the more drawn out crushing Blackened Doom is probably as unified as they’ve ever sounded, and feels like the band’s best work combining these styles thus far.