Back in 2015, Doom/Stoner Rock outfit Black Vulpine from Dortmund (Germany) released their full lenght debut Hidden Places, which the band produced and financed completely on their own responsibility. In order to give the album a proper vinyl treatment, the band successfully started a campaign on crowdfunding platform “Startnext”. This DIY package was perfectly rounded off by their label of choice, Moment of Collapse Records from Hamburg, home of such great bands as Red Apollo or Light Bearer, so mainly covering a more darker spectrum of athmospheric Doom and Sludge Metal. Furthermore, the record attracted strong attention and was highly recommended by a lot of magazines within the scene. All this aspects combined led to the fact that I had to give the record a listen, although I was not that much into Doom/Stoner Rock at the time. Nevertheless I enjoyed Black Vulpine’s songs so much (and I still do, of course), that I had to add the vinyl to my collection.
A year later, my Hidden Place experience got completed by a pretty decent and enjoyable performance at the Olympic Lake in Munich, as part of Rockavaria Festival.
Finally, four long years later, Black Vulpine’s second effort Veil Nebula sees the light of the world and to be honest, I did not expect that there will be a successor to Hidden Places, so I really was excited about whether the record could step up to this high benchmark. Fortunately, the long wait definetly paid off and Black Vulpine even notched up their performance!
This time, the release is supported by “Initiative Musik GmbH”. If you consider the heaviness of Black Vulpine’s music, it is really worth mentioning, that there are still funding agencies which support bands with presentation and distribution of their music. Thumbs up for that! On top, Moments of Collapse once again made a great job for the physical release and put out some proper vinyl pressings.
Compared to their first full lenght, Veil Nebula refines the bands sound by adding some decent Doom and Sludge elements on a couple of songs in contrast to the more catchy and hard rocking tunes. Don’t get me wrong, I really like it’s driving riffs, the pounding drumming and the groovy and variable basslines on tracks like the opener “Limbus”, the rythm monster “Foredoomed” or the playful groove monster “Uprooted” at the end of the album, but what´s making this album so special to me is when the songs venture out into more darker and heavier territory, adding a very nice dynamic and varying component thus giving the compositions more space to unfold. The arc of suspense covers the widest range on the mysterious “The Painting” with it’s quite and eerie opening section merging into a much heavier and sluggish part. “The Haunted House” and “Minotaur” are characterized by balladesque moments, beautifully gentle vocal lines accompanied by some nice clean guitars flowing into more heavy and doomy hooks. These quite and loud moments perfectly go hand in hand and always appear to be crafted from one single cast. Great!
To wrap things up, I want to highlight a couple of aspects, which in my opinion were the most outstanding on this record. The instrumentation and the production, which the band took under their own control once again, feels even more thrillingly heavy and punchy compared to their first effort. The pumping bass guitar by Stefan Zacharias, the markant drumming style of Rüdiger Stirnberg and the tasty riffs and wide-gauge guitar sound of Sarah Voß and Daria Stirnberg building the solid instrumental foundation for Sarah’s beautifully warm and vibrant voice. Her engaging vocals successfully step out of the shadows filling an even greater space within the bands compositions. Additonally, the band opened up their sound, adding some new Doom and Sludge facets. This diversity is most likely the reason for me, why I will be tied up with the record for a longer time. This record is built to last so do yourself a favor and give it a listen, if you’re into any kind of heavy rock music!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
As usual, we added the two favorite tracks to our Transcended Review Playlist