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Dvne - Voidkind review




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Reviewer:
8.8

115 users:
7.97
Band: Dvne
Album: Voidkind
Style: Progressive sludge metal, Stoner metal
Release date: April 2024


01. Summa Blasphemia
02. Eleonora
03. Reaching For Telos
04. Reliquary
05. Path Of Dust
06. Sarmatæ
07. Path Of Ether
08. Abode Of The Perfect Soul
09. Plērōma
10. Cobalt Sun Necropolis

As I mentioned when reviewing the recent Rolo Tomassi album, releasing a seminal record brings its own challenges in having to sustain that standard going forward. It’s a challenge that Rolo Tomassi ably rose to back in 2022, and it’s one that Dvne have accomplished with Voidkind.

The Edinburgh 5-piece entered 2021 with a strong debut under their belt in the form of Asheran, but subsequently released the kind of massive step up that almost renders said debut inconsequential. This has been arguably demonstrated by the band’s live performances, which have pretty much exclusively featured songs from Etemen Ænka, an album that I have vociferously voiced my appreciation for since its release; I gave the record a 9.0 when reviewing it at the time, but it’s one of a couple of albums I’ve given such a score to that, in hindsight, arguably deserved to be rated even higher. Etemen Ænka is a monument in the modern progressive metal scene, and it’s a daunting standard for Voidkind to try to measure up to.

Although there has been one line-up change since the last album (keyboardist Evelyn May being replaced by Maxime Keller), the band’s sound has not dramatically changed. The music here still is comprised of a distinctive mesh of progressive, stoner, sludge and arguably also post-metal sounds that enables comparisons to acts such as Mastodon, Anciients and members of the Pelagic Records roster without really sounding overly similar to any of them. The songs feature a mixture of dizzying guitarwork that both alternates between and fuses dense, emphatic riffs and elaborate, technical leads, and the tracks traverse thrilling heaviness, slick groove, atmospheric breaks, tantalizing builds, and ensnaring complexity. This consistently scene-stealing guitarwork is delivered by harsh co-vocalists Dan Barter and Victor Vicart, the latter of whom also contributes some effective, if not especially refined, clean singing.

One member who I consistently find myself drawn towards when listened to Voidkind, however, is drummer Dudley Tait; this album is a rhythmically busy one, and there are so many moments across the record, particularly during the slightly softer passages, where it is a lively drum pattern that is really setting the tone, whether it’s with a marching snare (“Eleonora”), tom (“Abode Of The Perfect Soul”), hi-hat (“Reaching For Telos”), or even rimshot (“Eleonora” again) dominating the complex groove. Some of the highlights on Etemen Ænka (especially the midsection of “Sì-XIV”) revolved around the percussion, but Tait feels arguably even more pivotal to the album’s success here.

As far as the quality of the songs go, it’s probably not a surprise to hear that Voidkind is filled with great tracks. It perhaps doesn’t start off in the most emphatic of fashions, as opener “Summa Blasphemia”, which sustaining a simmering tension from the first second to the last, doesn’t quite ever explode into life, instead opting to alternate between a muscular opening riff and a slightly more triumphant and melodic chorus. The first moment on Voidkind that really pulls me in occurs midway into the next song, “Eleonora”; the combination of slick, melodic technicality and crunching heaviness in the opening minutes already makes an impact, but the softer midsection, with a tasty bass lick alongside the aforementioned snare rim groove and some ambient soundscaping, builds really effectively before ultimately unleashing a huge riff. It doesn’t quite have the same immense impact of the somewhat similar build and eruption in “Sì-XIV”, but it is nevertheless incredibly solid.

From that point onward, there are a litany of great moments across the album. “Reaching For Telos”, while feeling a tad janky earlier on, is another song that shines from the midway mark, moving into a lovely tapping passage underpinned by a chill drumbeat that reminds me somewhat of “Echo” by Leprous, while “Reliquary” at different points captures vibes of early Mastodon or Tool, before culminating with some expansive heaviness. “Pleroma”, a surprisingly clean and melodic song by the band’s standards, has almost a rock or melodic metalcore feel to some of its earlier instrumentation, but it also delivers some wonderfully epic expansive soundscapes in its closing minutes.

Perhaps the standout songs for me, however, are “Sarmatae” and “Abode Of The Perfect Soul”. The former is the shortest ‘proper’ song here (there are two soft, brief interludes), but from its emphatic opening riff, through its tense bridge and epic build, and ultimately with its huge concluding riff, it is on fire throughout. So is “Abode Of The Perfect Soul”, another one that starts immediately with captivating heaviness, but one that uses its length to explore an array of sounds, at some point entering a passage later on that feels as if it could have appeared on Cult Of Luna’s Vertikal. The album’s concluding and longest song, “Cobalt Sun Necropolis”, perhaps makes less consistently excellent use of its length, as an overly protracted beginning and a brief segment midway through in which all instruments bar guitar pull back do stall some of the album’s momentum, but the evolution of the track from after that aforementioned midway moment is really satisfying (even if the abrupt end to the song isn’t).

With all that said, how does Voidkind stack up to its predecessor? I am perhaps not the best placed to give a truly fair assessment of this; Etemen Ænka is one of a handful of albums that have really come to define my music listening this decade when it comes to new releases, and a number of songs featured on it are embedded in my psyche. That does mean that one cannot discount the unavoidable influence of time and exposure when I say that, for all the merits of Voidkind, I’ve not yet found one specific song or moment that quite rivals the absolute peaks of its predecessor. That, combined with the slightly lower levels at which parts of the opening and closing songs lay at compared with the rest of the tracklist, do mean that I rank this newer album, for now, slightly below Etemen Ænka.

That said, this is still a hugely impressive release, one that will very likely be fighting it out for the top spots in my end-of-year list, and one that should further cement Dvne as one of the standout bands in the modern metal scene.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8





Written on 17.04.2024 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 9   Visited by: 93 users
20.04.2024 - 15:18
Zap
Guest
I've only listened to it once but thought it was about on par with my first listen of Etemen Ænka, so I can see this growing on me a lot. So far I agree on which songs are highlights and which moments stand out.
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20.04.2024 - 19:17
Rage10000
I have felt the same as you about this band. Etemen Ænka has become one of my favourites of all time so knew it would be a tough act to follow. And, like you, I haven't found any one song that has hit me in a way like Court of the Matriarch has. That said, this new album is incredibly creative and there are exceptional moments throughout. Eleonora, Reaching for Telos, Abode of the Perfect Soul, and Pleroma are all great and will be on regular rotation for some time.
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20.04.2024 - 19:36
Rating: 7
Risto
Wandering Midget
I'm not that impressed by the drumming based on the initial impression, actually. Variation in rhythm and tempo seems lacking compared to their previous work, even Asheran. Pleroma is the exception and has some of the most memorable riffs of the entire album, in part because drum patterns depart from earlier tracks.
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21.04.2024 - 13:30
Rating: 8
I've listened to it about seven or eight times since release and hope that it will grow on me in the future. As of now, I think it's a noticable step down in quality from Etemen Ænka. It's far from being a bad album, in fact I would still call this a very good record. But it lacks the effect of, for example, the climaxes in Court of the Matriarch and Omega Severer or the hooks of Mleccha or that keyboard arrangement in Towers. Voidkind is still filled with great riffs but it all feels less deliberate and less dynamic. Especially the middle of the album blends together for me with no track really standing out. It could also be the production that - in my listening experience - doesn't do justice to the calmer moments and sounds less "spacious" than the predecessor. For the moment, the pairs of Summa Blasphemia/Eleonora and Plērōma/Cobalt Sun Necropolis are the hightlights for me. But I hope that more listens will get me into the middle of the record as well.
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24.04.2024 - 18:27
Auntie Sahar
Drone Empress
Elite
Very interesting, this. I had never heard of these guys prior to this album, so thanks for bringing them to my attention. Reminds me a bit of Anciients, Flight Of Sleipnir, and some other stuff out there that mixes prog with stoner, but it's got a sound all its own too. My Inner Sci Fi Girl is giddy over the Dune themes as well. Long live the Kwisatz Haderach!
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I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.

~ II. VII
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24.04.2024 - 18:36
Rating: 9
musclassia
Staff
Written by Auntie Sahar on 24.04.2024 at 18:27

Very interesting, this. I had never heard of these guys prior to this album, so thanks for bringing them to my attention. Reminds me a bit of Anciients, Flight Of Sleipnir, and some other stuff out there that mixes prog with stoner, but it's got a sound all its own too. My Inner Sci Fi Girl is giddy over the Dune themes as well. Long live the Kwisatz Haderach!


If this is your introduction to the album and you enjoy it, I definitely can't recommend the previous release Etemen Ænka enough - hits a lot of the same musical vibes but the songs just hit that bit harder
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24.04.2024 - 18:53
Auntie Sahar
Drone Empress
Elite
Written by musclassia on 24.04.2024 at 18:36

If this is your introduction to the album and you enjoy it, I definitely can't recommend the previous release Etemen Ænka enough - hits a lot of the same musical vibes but the songs just hit that bit harder

Indeed, most people in the thread here, and you yourself in the review as well, seem to be implying that's their best. I'll get to it soon then.... kinda playing catch up right now on the last 2 weeks' worth of releases, but it'll go on my Listening Queue
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I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.

~ II. VII
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25.04.2024 - 09:49
Fallen Ghost
Craft Beer Geek
This freakin' slaps!! Only halfway through the album, and already considering ordering the vinyl. I get strong assocations to The Ocean, and some of the guitar work reminds me a bit of Mastodon. Very good!
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03.05.2024 - 10:52
tea[m]ster
Au Pays Natal
Contributor
The more I play this the more it becomes just as good as Etemen Aenka.
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rekt
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