Occasionally bands conjure up the perfect album art for their work, with help from solid artists of course, and an enormous lion breathing hellfire onto the earth is not only fitting for Vimur’s third full length Transcendental Violence, but also a visual representation for where we are as a society and what’s most likely to be the outcome of our stupidity. Vimur fights on the same fields of battle that some of the best second wave black metal bands did yet their spin, their feel, their power, and their conviction is second to none. They say the third time’s the charm but in this case, the third time’s the icing on the cake as Vimur has shorn up the small cracks of efforts past and are quite literally bullet, and fire, proof.
Atlanta, Georgia is more known for sweltering heat and a big city attitude, and well, maybe Mastodon more so than frostbitten and battle bloodied black metal. But, Vimur have taken that in stride since forming in 2006. On their 2014 debut Traversing the Ethereal Plane and 2019’s sophomore effort, Triumphant Master of Fates, they established themselves as a formidable force in the genre with a raw and visceral take that had the earmarks of second wave greats via the cold and mystical atmosphere along with the level of extreme they were willing to go. However, what separated Vimur from everyone else in both instances was their approach and originality. They wrapped all this coldness, aggression, and speed with a ribbon of melody that plants itself in the cortex like an alien being attempting to take over its host. It was like nothing I’d heard yet I could tie it back to a time when black metal was ‘dangerous.’ And hell no I’m not talking about church burnings and murders and all that, I’m talking about a time when black metal, and death metal for that matter, was scary to approach for an outsider with no real reference points and just the vicious music to form an opinion from.
Neither of their first two were slouches by any means and in fact are albums I would die on a hill for. Now, with Transcendental Violence, the ever so slight lack of cohesion on the debut and the very slight chinks in the armor on the sophomore effort are gone. In their place is a black metal album with no missteps and a clear voice of what this band is and what they represent. Simply put, it’s still raw and visceral as evident on the blast beat filled and tremolo picking onslaught of the title track. It’s reminiscent of a belt sander to skin with the trigger locked and arm tied down with barbed wire. And it’s still melodic and seriously catchy. See the opening, and undeniably rocking, salvo and glorious midsection of “The Greatest Dying” for example. The way this band handles arena ready heavy metal is a thing of beauty and that’s what sections like this remind me of. However, they never lose sight of who they are with a well planted disembodied scream or perfectly timed ghastly howl.
The penultimate achievements then are two fold. The first of which is opener and lead off single “Aeonic Upheaval” which is a track I would say is Vimur personified in a single song. Guitars swirl with rhythm and vigor while the drums keep a wicked tempo then later it’s a full on maelstrom of aggression that’s cold and calculating then slowly fades back into, for lack of a better term, heavy metal pacing and grandeur. The second of which is “Death Absolution” where we have a clear departure from anything they’ve done to date. It’s a full on doom jam. Yes, you read that right. Doom. The pace is slow and lumbering and the mood and atmosphere are dark and dank. Yet, through pained screams they STILL don’t lose their identity or vision here. It’s amazing how well they pull this off and how well it fits with the album as a whole. Not only that, but it shows how much the band has grown that they’re able to flip the script and still keep us entertained and hanging on every note.
What can I say that you haven’t already gleaned from the above paragraphs at this point? To put it plain; Vimur rocks, rolls, rules, and emits fire from their chosen instruments. Three albums in and they’re still as fiercely violent as they were on the debut. Just better oiled, honed to a sharper point for bigger impact, and seasoned like an axe that’s been through several bloody battles. Ok so, I damn sure did go over the top a bit in spots with this review, but it’s all in trying to convey that the strides this band has made have paid off in spades and while they were great right out of the gate, they’re on a whole other level now. Be prepared, I’ll be rattling on about this one for a long, long time…