Tags: Auto > band > crisp production > Draft > genre > harsh vocals > mood enhancers > music > record > vocal approach
It?s become almost the standard in metal to index and categorize bands by genre, as an easier method of research for potential buyers. It?s convenient to know what style of music a band plays, but convenience also harbors laziness. Once somebody finds a particular sound they can relate to, they can choose to close off from any music outside of the limited scope of the genre. Doing so may result in missing out on something fresh and non-conventional, like Vildhjarta?s first LP Måsstaden.
It takes seven musicians from Sweden to pull off the band?s Meshuggah-meets-TesseracT metal explosion. Three guitarists and two vocalists are the main pieces to this highly-stylized record. Having so many guitarists at the helm makes for a heavy bashing that doesn?t need crisp production to affect the music. Breakdowns are prevalent, but not as groan-inducing as other metal bands. The best of them are well-placed on ?Eternal Golden Monk? and ?Dagger.?
However, where Vildhjarta steps up their game is not in the aggressive moments, but in the ambient/clean sections. It?s not uncommon to hear the band go from a noisy burst to a soothing, spacey break. This type of interplay is the trademark to the lengthier material, when the songs get close to seven minutes. ?All These Feelings? presses on the clean atmospheric traits in its final minutes, and wistful guitars spark a beautiful array of sounds to the beginning of ?The Lone Deranger.?
Vildhjarta?s vocal approach is to be ruthless with the constant stream of dueling screams and growls. They both do a solid job of letting out the anger in a variety of ways, without coming off as monotone. The harsh vocals can become overwhelming at select points on Måsstaden, especially with no room to let in any melodic air into the equation. ?Traces? is the only song to have the excellent clean vocals, and the lack of them across the rest of the album is a questionable offense.
Interludes are around to act as mood enhancers, though some of them tend to be a long-winded breakdown or a mash of instrumental folly. It?s nothing that hurts the album, but could skipped with no negative consequences. When weighed together, the second half of the album is much stronger, once the band decides to push their ambient agenda to the front. The first few songs aren?t as memorable; more of a sampler of the last half of the record.
One way for a band to stand on its own is to buck the norm and do something just different enough. Vildhjarta is a band that?s getting lumped in with the so-called ?djent? movement, but that?s just a cheap ploy to force the band into any type of category. Måsstaden is an album with a majestic view and a chip on its shoulder; angry as hell, yet calm when it needs to be. If it wasn?t for the interludes and less-than-memorable first half, Måsstaden would radiant with more force. Instead, it?s a solid debut album with the right elements to make for a noteworthy second record down the road.
Label: Century Media
Web site: www.myspace.com/vildhjarta
By Dan Marsicano