Review: “On The Shoulders Of Gods” by Vikvanir

Inspired by Norse mythology and epic fantasy Vikvanir is the project of Sydney Australian based multi instrumentalist and composer Zachary Carlsson who promises Black Metal as the basis for a debut offering with influences of Doom, Death and even Progressive Metal as he takes us on a journey to Valhalla. Adorned by cover artwork from the late wonderful Mariusz Lewandowski and with orchestration from Elise Carpio, “On The Shoulders Of Gods” was first conceptualised in 2018 before finally coming to life amid the isolation of 2021…

Epic and meloncholic, “Seaborne Monstrosity” stokes a dwindling fire before adding fuel to create a towering inferno, Carlsson screaming at the skies that harbor a wrathful God in an act of pure unadulterated defiance. His wide ranging abilities in musicanship are there for all to bear witness to, the drum machine sounding a little flat on occasion but barely noticeable to the untrained ear, distracted by the raging buzzsaw guitars, dark synths and delicate orchestrations. The scalding vocals of “Corpse-Strewn Path To The Citadel” offer a cutting contrast to the Death n’ Roll swagger of the earlier passages before the depth and texture of the dynamic turns into something darker and more captivating before your very ears, a distinctly Gothic synth moment broken by the sheer intensity if the crushing vocal. Far from being one for genre purists, “On The Shoulders Of Gods” is instead richly diverse while still retaining certain hallmark elements. The dry raspy vocals of “What Hell Do I Reside” accompany some haunting moments before a shoegaze inspired solo of striking quality cuts through the black noise that surrounds it, a hellish depiction of solitary confinement in which the inner voice threatens to destroy the mind. Sounding like it was recorded in a dark, dank, torture chamber basement hell with aging equipment, “Navigating The Transept” continues the vibe with an apocalyptic tone, the sheer sonic weight of the abrasions crushing everything it touches. A blunt force trauma with an underlying melody hidden by the slow burn it’s a juxtaposition as the dark energy of the pacing doesn’t transcend against the scalding heat of the delivery. Last but by no means least,  “The Purging Fires” completes the journey with haunting final steps as if the confessions of an arsonist before a court of Terry Pratchett characters. The raging dark storms of Vikvanir may not be as turbulent as one might expect but the distilled essence of Black Metal is very much at the heart of this beast which doesn’t release its death grip until its final dying moments, leaving you drained and bloodstained but with an eerie sense that there is something lurking in the surroundings [7/10]

Track Listing

  1. Seaborne Monstrosity
  2. Corpse-Strewn Path To The Citadel
  3. What Hell Do I Reside
  4. Navigating The Transept
  5. The Purging Fires

On The Shoulders Of Gods” by Vikvanir is out 22nd October 2022 and available for pre-order over at bandcamp.

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