In my continued quest to broaden my horizons, I decided to dive into something completely out of my comfort zone and see whether there was something I could derive from it. Now, I am really into the eclectic and the weird, so anything in the avant-garde realm of metal is something to look forward to. Enter Vampillia, a 10-piece “brutal orchestra” that combines their brand of metal with elements of noise rock, post-metal, shoegaze and other genres on Happiness Brought by Endless Sorrow.
One of the first things I noticed was the EP’s length. Although barely clocking in past the six-minute mark, Happiness Brought by Endless Sorrow shows a range of musical layers and sounds that are an experience to listen to. Happiness reminds me a lot of the extreme brutality of Dir En Grey’s music, but with more of an avant-garde backing and a grind-like flair. Sonically, they are both diverse, but Vampillia takes the diversity up a notch by juxtaposing the high-pitched, banshee howling with classical music overtones. The violin and keyboards/synths used throughout the EP are so poignant and beautiful that you can’t help but notice the contrast. When they come in, they come in hard, battling for attention in a soundscape that is noisy, blistering, and claustrophobic.
What also caught my attention was how densely layered the music is. You can almost feel the texture and the layering through your headphones – there is a thick sound that is all-encompassing. You would think that this wouldn’t work, with all of the various layers that seem to come in at various times, but it does. The record is also bizarrely warm in tone, which is unlike anything else I have ever heard. Most metal I’ve been acquainted with is cold and feels somber, but Happiness is bizarre and happy with its own quirks. No wonder I am so taken with it.
All in all, Happiness Brought by Endless Sorrow is a sonically convoluted yet warm album that stretches its own avant-garde nature to new heights. Given the band’s extensive discography and works with other bands, including The Body and world’s end girlfriend, I can also hope that Vampillia continues to create beautiful, unsettling music that sticks with you. Color me intrigued.