Archive for the ‘Vagrond’ Category

Anger Management: Vagrond

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Every fortnight, we check in with all things heavy on RTRFM’s Critical Mass show.

When talking about music it’s common for people to say that a certain song or album can invoke a feeling or mood, but what about an entire season? Take Immortal or Dark Throne: people often say that the music of those bands is ‘cold and grim’ like winter. And although song titles, lyrics and presentation add to it, in a vacuum with no prior knowledge of the bands, it’s hard to argue that people still wouldn’t describe the music as ‘cold’ (that guitar tone alone).

Another example would be two more recent releases: Deafheaven’s Sunbather and Alcest’s Shelter. Both albums, although strikingly different, have a ‘warmth’ about them that invokes the season of summer. Again, presentation has a hand in it (the cover of Shelter features a washed out late afternoon sun) but the music itself is warm.

To tie it all together here (enough waffly prose and poor mixed metaphors), when I listen to Vagrond’s stunning third album Regret, I can’t help but feel this album invokes the autumn.

Regret is a giant leap forward for the Perth duo, taking the band’s doomy, depressive and harsh black metal sound and refining it with the addition of shoegaze and post-metal. There are layers upon layers of lush guitars here that remind me a lot of Brave Murder Day–era Katatonia. Tracks such as “Left Unspoken” and “Intertia” are amazing but the real highlight is “Longing” with its sinister and heavy chug.

The vocals are a distant, ghostly murmur mixed into the background that works really well. It’s another layer to focus on and adds to the songs moods. Although there are some moments where the harsher vocals of the past might fit in well, the newer style fits on perfectly for this release.

Lyrically, this is a very depressive and gloomy record, steeped in themes of sorrow, regret and the end of life. It’s a stark contrast to some of the lush sounds of here, but this ties in with my feelings of ‘Autumn’: it’s getting colder and darker. Leaves are falling and the colours are changing, but the sun still pokes out from the clouds and reflects on the water. Regret is an essential purchase.

Regret is available on vinyl through Self Mutilation Services.

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.