Review: “Led To Exile” by V

For over 20 years there have been various incarnations V and having recorded their debut EP “V-VI” in 2006 it was a decade before it saw release on Christmas Eve 2016. The delay was largely due to the bands other commitments and obligations with bands such as Katatonia, In Mourning, Afgrund, Oak and Besvärjelsen. But having let that one out of the bag, the band got back together and wrote their debut full length  “Pathogenisis” released via Suicide Records at the end of 2017. This second album was recorded between July–September 2018 at Studio Midlake, Nås with vocalist and guitarist Andreas Baier handling the mix. The drums were recorded by Mattias Henrysson at Superbird Studio Falun whilw Karl Daniel Lidén took the mastering.

Picture a lonely figure cast alone in the Norwegian Forrest on a dark and cold winters night. The dark oppressive atmospheric of an expanded tapestry of a Sludge Metal canvas with some throat shredding unclean vocals from Andreas Baier that Robert Meadows of Mind Power would be more than happy with and you get the bleak picture that V are painting with “Broadcast From The Shadows”. It’s synth build introduction is something of a misnomer as you may expect it to twist into some Black Metal especially with the cover art if you’ve not heard the band before but instead it builds into a thunderous set of riffs with progressive slow burning lead parts. “Illvijan” uses an interesting echo effect to slope the vocals in the mix as it chugs through some chunky rhythm riffage creating that black cloud that engulfs and consumes. Nihilistic lyrics about the hardships of living outdoors on the rough terrain and it’s isolating nature are the fabric of the album. “Hostage of Souls” plays with the mind, moving between the crushing riffs and dark melodic moments that recreate nature with gentle haunting guitar work and synth chimes representing the wind through the trees and the slow drawn out on set of madness. It’s beauty is in the complete contrast to the savage unclean vocals and in itself comes across like the violent mood swings of someone suffering from Bi-polar disorder.

Taking the earlier work and developing the atmosphere with a journey of songwriting, the slow and epic progressions of “Phantasmagoria” paint with broad brush strokes on a canvas of great expanse. Andreas Baier’s elongated screams of “No!” during the huge percussive sounds of Daniel Liljekvist is a simply incredible moment. Picking up the acoustic guitars and with clean vocals “None Shall Rise Again” is the moment of clarity and haunting melody that you might think would close an album of this stature. Lyrically a tale of the bleak existence “in the pain that you call life” it has an almost country root in the works of Johnny Cash and falls to the lows of thoughts of suicide. The use of the wind chime effect in behind the vocals is another piece of magic that helps tie the whole album together musically. Changing back to the electric guitars for the album title track, “Led Into Exile” lyrically tells the tale of folklore and what happens to a person who succumbs to a siren song that comes from the taiga-belt and how this ultimately leads to the vanishing of this person, never to be seen again. It’s acid jazz mid section is one of the most insightful things you might hear with Marcus Lindqvist’s bass taking the lead around some more incredible kit work. Completing the complexity of the slow fall into insanity with a slow and thunderous break out will leave you starring into the abyss with shoe gazing wonder [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Broadcast From The Shadows
  2. Illvijan
  3. Hostage of Souls
  4. Phantasmorga
  5. None Shall Rise Again
  6. Led Into Exile

“Led Into Exile” by V is out 13th September and available for pre-order here

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