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Friday, August 19, 2022

Review: Vidres A La Sang – Fragments de l’esdevenir

Label: Abstract Emotions

Date: July 1st, 2022

“Vidre” is a Serbian word for otters. “San” is a Serbian word for a dream. And how would a weird mind remember a band name in Catalan? Dream of otters, of course. Never have I had one, but it’s been a decade, or even more since I first heard of this band and their name still resounded in my head when the promo CD of “the otters’” new album fell into my lap.

Also, while the name itself was frequently mentioned in many underground publications, I haven’t heard their music until just now. Blame it on my phobia of abstract (or simply weird) band names. But here I am now, ready to dissect their fifth full length record, titled as you see above. Catalan is nowhere near my native language, but I found the translation of it to be “Fragments of Existence”. As for the rest of the lyrical content, you’re asking a wrong person. Firstly, I don’t have the lyrical sheet and secondly, even if I did I wouldn’t understand a word. So, it’s all left to your imagination, and mine.

Anyway, let’s go for the music, since it is much closer to my understanding, even if it’s not at all that easy to explain. “Fragments de l’esdevenir” starts with something that got me thinking of the first song perhaps being a Metallica cover. “Blackened”, to be exact, with its screeching introduction. Thankfully, this comparison stops then and there.

The shortest description of what Vidres A La Sang is all about would be extreme metal. That would gather everything that goes on here and sum it up into one. Easy, as well as lazy way out of this review. But this is not that type of magazine. So…

Imagine a combination of crude black metal, traditional Mediterranean black metal (Greek or Spanish) and primeval doom / heavy metal. It’s something like this. As for the band names that could be associated with “Fragments de l’esdevenir”, let me try something like this: Xerión, Rotting Christ, Balmog, Foscor and Pentagram (US one). Mixing them all in one big melting pot of melancholic atmosphere should bring about something that could sound similar to the Catalan trio. Black / doom metal in short. Traces of death metal here are way too subtle for me to accept the general consensus that it’s black / death metal. Perhaps it was on previous releases, but on this new one, it is simply false.

Vidres A La Sang comprises of the raw black metal side of Xerión (without their folkloric touches). Then we have the somewhat melodic approach to black metal of the Greek legends such as Rotting Christ. There’s the tonnage of sound similar to what Balmog has achieved on their latest records. The sonority of Foscor that somehow transcends the usual black metal one. And then there’s Pentagram that lent their old school, atmospherically laden, heavy metal to the Catalans.

Speaking of this doomy approach, at times it seems very ritualistic, particularly with the effective and playful drumming that keeps the dynamic hype of the record on the high all the time. As for the dynamism, guitars are doing an excellent job as well. Doing the “primitive” build-ups intersected with melodic pieces and almost divine solos feels like sliding from one edge of the spectrum all the way to another. It’s not an easy task, but the duo handling them makes these segments flow between each other spotlessly, while keeping the song structures intact from any falters that could ruin the stream.

Musical and compositional mastery being obvious throughout, I expected much more from the vocals. Precisely, I want diversity in the vocal segment of “Fragments de l’esdevenir”. It would definitely make the voice and the message it conveys (whatever it may be) more expressive. It would guide the emotions of the listener more clearly. Also, the cover artwork is anything but understandable to me, but those are the only real faults I could find on the record.

Vidres A La Sang are in form. Judging from what I’ve read in the times when they were mentioned all over the place, this act was never out of form anyway. Thus, I’m glad to finally make an acquaintance with the band.