Vvorse – Kurjien elegia


Finland has an abundance of melodic death metal bands, but few hardcore groups come our way. Vvorse are a quartet from Jyväskylä with one previous album to their name and a penchant for the 1980s crust punk that influenced the first wave of black metal. If you like d-beats and hysterical vocals, you’re in the right place.

The four nameless members of Vvorse sport Converge and Neurosis t-shirts in their promo shots, but their hardcore attack is more akin to modern acts like Gulch and Scalp. Opener, ‘Kenen valta?’, mixes rough vocals and extreme metal riffs in one package and harks back to Suicidal Tendences for its cathartic release of aggression. ‘Käännyn hiljaa pois’ offers a shade of melody in the opening chords but in the modern black metal manner of searching for the throbbing dissonance effect. Listen to the intensity of the alt-picking rhythms and the switch to a doom metal dirge in the middle eight – is this not metal in its might and menace?

It’s clear after two songs that Vvorse’s outstanding drummer prefers to stay within the confines of d-beats for most of the songs on Kurjien elegia, and that’s understandable for a hardcore band. The violent punk of ‘Varjoaine’ has its merits, even if it’s a little predictable. But Vvorse are at their best when the guitarist reaches for the sliding octave chords and mixes them with classic thrash metal techniques. ‘Nevar tā blakus līdzi just’ is the best proponent of this synergy of styles, yet standout track, ‘Haluan kuolla rauhassa’, is where they find their calling. The neo-black metal punk on display here could be from the latest Harakiri for the Sky album. Modern black metal seldom sounds as urgent or as confrontational as this in its vitriolic hostility.

Though it remains consistent, Kurjien elegia is short on extraordinary moments. Nevertheless, there are some that will make you sit up. Closing track, ‘1990’, has a melodic glow to it that’s absent in the other songs, to the point where you might even call it alt-rock or compare it to hardcore’s most hyped band of 2021, Turnstile. The blast beats in ‘Haluan kuolla rauhassa’ are a welcome relief from the d-beat formula that pervades through most of this record. Vvorse’s ambitions are simple – to slay everything before them in a whirlwind of violent hardcore. They don’t want to change the musical landscape, even if they take tentative steps to transcend hardcore on at least four of their eight songs. Maybe that’s why they miss out on achieving their full potential here – they hint at something different but never act upon this instinct.

As a sophomore effort, Kurjien elegia meets the criteria for a successful album. It houses plenty of unhinged scream vocals and extreme metal riffs and should appeal to the metalheads as well as the hardcore kids. No doubt Vvorse will build on the subtle experimentation with album number three. This is a promising evolution in their sound and leaves them plenty of scope to fulfil their true potential in the future.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 28/01/2022

Record Label: Off Records

Standout tracks: Kenen valta?, Käännyn hiljaa pois, Haluan kuolla rauhassa

Suggested Further Listening: Filth Is Eternal – Love Is a Lie, Filth Is Eternal (2021), Harakiri for the Sky – Mӕre (2021), Scalp – Domestic Extremity (2020)