Doom metal is typically comprised of the same elements and instruments to create the foggy dark sound of the genre’s namesake, but some bands like to change the game a bit and add in new sounds and instruments to make unique and dynamic compositions. While traditional doom metal is one of my favorite things and I adore the classic elements, it is fun to see bands experiment and add their own signature to the genre. Vouna is a musical project that does just that with their latest release Atropos.
Vouna is the work of Yianna Berkris who is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and composer. While Atropos is mostly a passion project of this talented individual, a few guests contributed their skills to this album including Nathan Weaver of Wolves in the Throne Room. Additional instruments featured are violin, electric lap steel, synths, and harp. Atropos is comprised of five diverse tracks with a total runtime of just under an hour. Each piece is a journey filled with vivid atmospheres and deep themes. The album is named after the Greek fate who ended the lives of mortals by cutting their threads and determined the manner of their deaths. The melodies, lyrics, and emotions of Atropos surround death, mourning, and suicidal ideation. The album is beautifully devastating while also peaceful and unearthly.
Atropos opens with a simple harp melody (by Asia Kindred Moore) before doom guitar is added with drums and Bekris’ ethereal vocals ringing through. The harp continues in the background adding a beautiful and alluring layer to the track. Eventually the vocals turn ghastly, and the melody darkens. Each song has these twists and turns and features instrumental moments where the drums and guitar are featured. There are also atmospheric black metal segments, creating vast soundscapes. Synthesizers are heavily featured throughout adding some dramatics and eerie tunes to parts of the album.
My favorite track is “Vanish” which begins with an unnerving echoing drum beat before guitar is introduced and the track slowly starts expanding. I love the buildup in these songs—each one begins with a quiet, simple tune before layers are added. Weaver’s vocals are featured in this track adding depth and more texture. This track feels as though it is in two parts. Partway through, there is another quiet moment with a soft tone until violin is heard (by Entrail) along with vocalization from Berkris and distorted harp. Other instruments kick in as Berkris’ vocals carry the melody and finish out the song. Violin is the last piece heard as it rings out into the darkness.
Atropos is the second full length release by Vouna. I am eager to see what Berkris does next and who she recruits to contribute on her next album. This release checks a lot of boxes for me and is beautifully created and produced. Berkris is very talented and creative, I adore her work and her personal style, and if she happens to be reading this…. Hi, I would love to be your new best friend. Atropos is a not to miss listen and, in my opinion, best experienced with headphones to be transported and carried along with the waves of sounds. Enjoy the journey.