|Sorrow Guides Us All
|28th of October, 2021
|The Crawling Chaos Records
|Cover Artwork ©
Sometimes it just needs one driving force to get going. From out of nowhere, we were able to follow the formation of German (originally) one-man Black Metal band Voidhra that was founded this year and initiated a fast pace towards first musical output. Voidhra is a Black Metal formation from southern Germany that originated with its only member Chris Horseblood writing all of the instruments and rapidly pushing it towards the first release Sorrow Guides Us All. Initially being self-released, German label The Crawling Chaos Records seized the initiative and instantly went for it, eventually releasing it on CD format October this year.
Maybe you’ve already heard people singing “Let it Snow” somewhere around you cause – you know – it’s Christmas season and stuff. However, it seems as if Voidhra also had this very statement in mind when writing their music, because this is exactly what happens when the first tunes of this album open up. The sound on this release instantly pushes you into a freezing cold soundscape, delivering finest Black Metal tunes that interconnect traditional with modern styles.
It is difficult to identify what is primarily striking about Voidhra and Sorrow Guides Us All, this comes from the fact that the finesse on this release cannot be reduced to single factors alone. Obviously, the riffs and the guitar playing mark a major aspect that showcases the skills that construct the incredibly memorable sound on this release. However, the difficulty to describe what marks the great sound on this release lies in the fact that it is not only the riffing, not only the melodies or any other single factor that constitutes to the freezing atmosphere that can be heard here. It definitely is the interplay between several of those factors. First and foremost, especially the open riffs that construct a damn perishing cold soundscape are drastically reminiscent of a tight combination of the impact of early Gorgoroth riffing and the chilling slower playstyle of mid-era Immortal.
On the other hand, these great riffs are intertwined with strong lead melodies. Switching back and forth between those lead melodies is probably also what immediately triggers a Dissection comparison in your head when listening to Voidhra, and you’re damn right about that. The melodies are either the driving force during the verses or the memorable soundscape that adds up to the sound of other sequences. The complexity of the riffs and melodies on this release leads to the fact that it feels as if melodies, chords, verses, fills and chorusses all merge together to form the specific soundscape that marks the sophistication of the songwriting on Sorrow Guides Us All – the riffs and melodies come back to former sequences and progress towards new alterations throughout all of the tracks. On top of that, especially the octave melody playing that can be heard on “Sorrow Guides Us All” as an example adds that layer of epicness that eventually also slightly conjoins the traditional, Scandinavian guitar sound with an overall feel that also reminds of younger US Black Metal outfits such as Uada.
Obviously, this is not only an instrumental album containing guitars and nothing else. Especially the vocals are also reminiscent of Immortal‘s Abbath, although it feels less spoken while often trying to follow the pattern of the lead melodies, thus also adding up to the full picture of this release. The level of aggression on these vocals still holds back, which is a good aspect in my opinion because it would otherwise break the chilling atmosphere the riffs construct on most of the tracks.
As read before in other reviews, it is mentioned that the drums feel a little weaker on this release. At some points, this might also be true because you get the impression that the guitars were meant to be in the forefront anyway. However, when regarding the fact that this is the first output overall, I don’t feel that it is necessary to find any difficulties within these spheres. The patterns that underline the sound definitely deliver enough pressure to underline the riffing and blast Voidhra at high volume.
What I found very striking about this release besides of the music it contains, though, was the chosen artwork. While driving through a swamp of Raw Black Metal releases that predominantly still present black and white covers with dudes holding swords or candlesticks, it’s an interesting move to go with an artwork that is rather reminiscent of different Black Metal releases that did not feel obliged to stick to the three-color-code.
All in all, this is a very legitimate debut that holds great strengths especially at one of the most important factors when listening to music – the songwriting. I was able to follow the release of pretty much every single track on this album one after another and was absolutely astonished by the sound Chris was able to produce. If you fell for this release right now, it might be interesting for you to know that Voidhra now is a full band having been formed right after the release of this album. Thus, the songwriting of the new members and as a band in general will definitely influence future releases, which is why I am especially keen on finding out how this sound will progress. Better stay tuned!
9 / 10
“Sorrow Guides Us All”