Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Von: Satanic Blood (2012)

Too Bad It's Not Spraying

Guest review by Patrick, proprietor of Beards, Etc.

Von are a San Francisco based black metal outfit. This Halloween saw the release of their full-length debut Satanic Blood. The group actually originally formed in the late 80s, bit disbanded for nearly two decades before returning with an EP in 2010 under the leadership of bassist/vocalist Venien, who is now the band's sole constant member.

These guys produce music that is, in a word, ugly. This represents the pinnacle of the black metal image as the twisted, gnarled, hideously evil and disfigured branch of the metal family tree. Snarling, distorted vocals rise out of the murky blanket of tremolo riffs and crashing drums. The songs come as a series of brief, chaotic assaults, with only the pair of bonus tracks at the end clocking in at over 4 minutes, while most of the preceding 17 fall into the 1-3 minute range. There are a few highly effective slower passages scattered throughout, but most come and go as bursts of violent, hateful energy. This gives the whole listening experience a somewhat choppy feel, which matches the rough aesthetic of the material. The hazy production also brings just enough grit into the mix without making everything sound like it was recorded through a pillow, and in so doing it works perfectly for the music.

My problem is that, while plenty of these tracks are highly effective, quite a few are not. There is just too much fat that needs to be trimmed off in he form of about half a dozen filler songs, including a few that stick to the same rudimentary chord progression throughout their entire run time. Also, the fact that the two CD bonus tracks are each more than twice as long as anything else on the album really adds to their separateness from the album proper and makes them feel like an unnecessary addition. All told, the total length of nearly 58 minutes could be cut in half without losing any really essential material, and consequently the finished product would be much more intense and effective in my opinion.

In short, this is a decent album that would have made a killer EP.

The Verdict: 3 out of 5 stars

Buy Satanic Blood