Thursday 15 October 2015

Review: V▲LH▲LL – 'Vi††ΞЯS†ЯåK'


Stockholm's V▲LH▲LL are an undeniably impressive act. Formed in 2012 they have fast become one of the most impressive underground electronic acts around today despite only having a few releases to their name. Their début full-length release last year on Artoffact Records, 'Leaning On Shadows' was a triumphant blend of atmospheric songwriting incorporating elements of witch house, neofolk, dark ambient and industrial. Just in time for Halloween comes the band's new single 'Vi††ΞЯS†ЯåK' which features two tracks of dissonant dark ambiance to send shivers down your spine.

Track one, 'Vi††ΞЯS†ЯåK Part 1: An Entrance' creaks and crackles into life as light metallic noises, breathy drones, and scratches eventually give way to a simple rhythm that fades in and out of life. The track gradually builds into more complex and witch house flavoured rhythms as it goes on transmogrifying the song from noise to nightmarish industrial.

Track two, 'Vi††ΞЯS†ЯåK Part 2: Did You Hear Something' begins with a pleasing ambient drone over watery sounds occasionally permeated by sinister strings. Light percussive noises begin to appear and unintelligible whispers float up through the mix. The track then suddenly veers into an assault of electronic beats which bring the song into rhythmic noise territory before fading back into the atmospheric sounds.

At thirteen minutes and eleven minutes long respectively the band give you plenty to get stuck into. The slow evolution of the tracks and subtle shifts throughout are closer to a classical arrangement rather than an electronic one. And with the heavy use of atmospheric and ambient elements it builds into a cohesive soundscape that could easily score a short and disturbing film.

The production, despite the occasional noise leanings, is pretty open and clean. The emphasis is on atmosphere and that is exactly what you get. A great cavernous sense of space that slowly closes in as you go from one movement to another.

This is another great release from V▲LH▲LL that continues to show off their skill and diversity. They seamlessly span experimental and more accessible genres and can craft exquisitely haunting atmospheres with ease. 'Vi††ΞЯS†ЯåK' is Halloween friendly scary music in a non cliché way that shows a real mastery of sound, melody and rhythm. Hopefully the band will follow this up soon with another full-length album to show the full scope of their abilities again. 

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