Review: Death Vanish – Cold Hammer of Melancholy

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Label: Eternal Death

When Death Vanish first made itself known to the world on a split with Misanthropos, the solo project of Valder (of One Master) spewed forth music that was crude, primitive, and very direct – akin to Von, but with an even stronger sense of wrongness. On follow-up EP Cold Hammer of Melancholy, there’s been a bit of a shift, but a slight one. The black metal presented here is even rawer than on that split, somehow taking primitive black metal and making it feel even more prehistoric. This is primal, dirty, violent – and incredibly effective.

With primitive black metal such as this, the real test isn’t in achieving something new or taking the style in any previously unthought-of direction. Instead, it’s all about conviction and passion – of writing and playing riffs that demand a primal response, and ensuring that the vocals properly capture that sense of primordial chaos the music wants to put across. Against such criteria, Cold Hammer of Melancholy absolutely succeeds. It takes the lessons of bands such as Beherit and Profatanica and applies them with skill and urgency; the riffs move like some rampaging beast that leaves nothing but destruction in its wake, whilst the drums are the sound of civilization collapsing upon itself. Atop all of this are the vocals, utterly desperate in their sense of violence and primal longing to spill blood and split skulls.

And yet, this is no war metal battery, where the music relies largely upon sheer force to win the day. There is a hint of melody to the riffs that keeps the music interesting as well as forceful, and the opening to first track ‘Solipsism and Antichrist’ – bass-led, growing and building upon itself like some great beast slowly awakening to its full power – is the most clear evidence on Cold Hammer of Melancholy that there’s been real thought and time put into the song-writing. Songs as strong and captivating as this aren’t just conjured from nowhere; effort has to be put into striking the right balance of primitive atmosphere, crude power, and dark melody, and Death Vanish gets it completely right.

Cold Hammer of Melancholy is the kind of release that might be short, but it’s also a very satisfying listen. There’s something cathartic about the rage it exudes, and its atmosphere is incredibly captivating – despite its violence, it’s easy to lose hours to music such as this, trapped by the spell it casts. There’s a lot of bands playing primitive black metal, but few do so as well as Death Vanish.

Cold Hammer of Melancholy is due for release on 16 November 2018, and can be pre-ordered on Bandcamp.

 

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