Let’s talk about atmosphere in metal: the idea that even in a traditionally heavy genre, where the focus is much more on riffs, the music can still create a mood that pulls the listener into the record’s ambiance. To create atmosphere in music is to use sonic art to instill what the artist feels, about themselves or their surroundings, onto the listener in a meaningful way. Bands like Spectral Lore and Sunn O))) have mastered atmosphere within metal; their compositions give the listener a sense of grandeur or dread, respectively, and they know how to manifest the right emotions at the right time.
Enter WRVTH, formerly Wrath Of Vesuvius: they show precise and methodical control over atmosphere on their new kind-of-self-titled album, Wrvth. The band uses this proficiency to evoke a bittersweet vibe that runs throughout the album, one part triumphant resolution and two parts melancholia. By imbuing this powerful emotive quality into an album that is, at its core, technical death metal, WRVTH has shown that they can create a record that is equally engaging from a technical standpoint and an emotional one. Wrvth is beautiful and emotive, without sacrificing the technicality necessary for techdeath album.
It’s hard to discern where to even begin talking about this album. The most obvious path would be to start at the very beginning, with the haunting intro to “Harrowing Winds”, but the most direct route can’t do justice to an album of this magnitude. To mention standout bits, like the multiple horn solos on this album that imbue it with a sense of solemnity and simplicity amidst twirling guitar parts, is a smart path, but, again, it would be hard to capture the grandeur of Wrvth through that method.
No, the best way to approach Wrvth is through dissection: breaking the album down by each component, because the only way to see that this is truly more than the sum of its parts, in every sense of the word, is to learn what the parts are first. At its very core, this is a technical death metal album. There are blazingly fast riffs and solos aplenty across this album’s 55 minutes, and many a part that requires the most dexterous of drumming. But the album is so much more than that; there are elements of post-rock, atmospheric black metal, and metalcore that worm their way in to help diversify and expand upon WRVTH’s sound. Clean parts absolutely drenched in reverb cover a fair amount of the record’s runtime, bringing a melancholy vibe that plays a huge part in Wrvth’s sound as an album. Tremolo-picked atmospheric black metal riffs create texture and poise, aiding the ambience considerably, and vocals that conjure more images of metalcore bands like Architects than of other techdeath groups bring a sense of raw emotion that’s hard to find when bands double down on technicality the way WRVTH has.
The record is aided by a production quality that keeps the whole album focused and sharp when it needs to be, and huge in scope when the time is right. Wrvth is a test of scale, in a way: from the soaring arpeggios and chords of the more atmospheric clean parts, to the claustrophobically sharp techdeath riffs that bounce and twist around each other, the whole album seems to be about providing a sense of magnificent scope and then ‘zooming in’ drastically to give personal meaning and context to the grandiosity.
Simply put, Wrvth is a triumph in a way that hasn’t really been seen before: by so skillfully blending riffy techdeath with genres that are known for their emotional qualities, WRVTH sees to it that the album is both beautiful and consistently engaging for the listener. This is the atmospheric techdeath album, and it will be for years to come.
WRVTH – Wrvth gets…