“Almost transcendentally beautiful, but heavy and haunting too.” – No Clean Singing
Last week. Windy City-based atmospheric metal collective VARAHA unleashed their eagerly anticipated self-titled debut EP. Recorded by Nick Morgan and Mike Lust (Urge Overkill, Russian Circles, William Elliott Whitmore, Child Bite) and mixed and mastered by Adam K. Stilson (Airiel, Car Seat Headrest, Ritual Howls, Pink Frost, Radar Eyes) at Decade Music Studios, the three tracks comprising the EP includes guest appearances by Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House, Brain Tentacles et al) on saxophone and Josie Boyer (Round Rock Symphony Orchestra) on cello.
In an advance investigation of the record, Echo Eyes commends a, “truly amazing cast,” furthering, “Though you do get hints of those other groups at moments in the play of the saxophone and cello, these are really just accents to a core-sound that is a heavily jazz influenced; Transcendence-era Devin Townsend Project, that intersects with the sometimes ethereal — almost to the point of shoegaze — and black metal aspects of Écailles de Lune-era Alcest. Both the clean and scream vocals are executed without flaw. ‘It Takes A Ghost To Kill A Ghost’ not only has the best title of all the songs on the EP, but it also illustrates how easily this band can leap from beauty to destruction — while sometimes encapsulating both — so effortlessly. If there is one complaint that this album can generate, it’s in the length… there needs to be more!” In their recent stream of the record, Invisible Oranges hails a sound that blends, “gothic rock and slow death metal, but their approach skews atmospheric and subtle. Guitarist and vocalist Fabio Brienza, a veteran of Italian alt rock outfit Klimt 1918 predecessors Another Day, isn’t afraid to let his guitar lines sparkle while the rhythm section pounds, but neither is he unwilling to gun it, as on the finale of ‘It Takes A Ghost To Kill A Ghost.’” Adds No Clean Singing, “Though you can feel the bass and the drums in a very physical and earthy way, the music equally has an evanescent, ephemeral quality, almost like imagining the northern lights cascading overhead while your feet are firmly planted in solid ground. That contrast appears in the vocals as well, which move between soaring angelic tones and ugly, abrasive snarls and shrieks. Almost transcendentally beautiful, but heavy and haunting too.” Metal Nexus concurs calling it, “dutifully depressive for the beautifully impressed,” adding, “Epic transcendentalist vibes keep you riveted as you listen to the wide spectrum of dynamics taking place and permeating every fiber and note happening around you. The players manage to journey across a rolling aural landscape that ripples with spirals of ebbing and flowing music, sometimes detouring into tempests of aggression and harsher vocals only to return to the more tranquil, calmer hypnotic fare.”
Varaha is out now digitally via the band’s official BandCamp page where you can stream the record in full. The record is also available via iTunes and Spotify. A CD edition to follow in the coming months.
VARAHA — named in honor of the boar manifestation of Indian god Vishnu who lifts the earth from underneath the ocean — plays a dynamic brand of dark and somber doom/dark rock inspired metal. The band’s palette is wide and varies from monolithic, heavily distorted guitars to elegiac and nostalgic arrangements. Overall, their music is a cinematic dance between heavy riffing counterpointed by omnipresent melodies, as well as droned parts of despair, and evocative clean guitar arrangements.
VARAHA will bring their hymns to the stage later for a special show supporting Amorphis next March with additional live dates to be announced soon.
3/26/2017 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL w/ Amorphis, Swallow The Sun, Earthen [tickets]
Fabio Brienza – vocals, guitars
Joel Hollis – guitars
Bryan Gold – bass
David Swanson – drums