Vildhjarta – Måsstaden
Vildhjarta. Not just a band, but a force of nature. Not just musicians, but quality composers. Not just an album, but a journey.
Starts with an acoustic intro to ‘Shadow’, which soon breaks into a sequence of intense riffs that are perfect continuations in chronological order. It’s like hearing a master storyteller narrate an epic. From the first note, the tightness of the guitar tone is more than evident. The production is modern but organic, and the overall sound is a perfect monster. If the first riff on Dagger does not get your blood pumping and head banging, you’re not really a metalhead. Sorry, but you failed the test. This isn’t just a bunch of kids jamming to some grooves, this is intelligently written music. The vocals are relentless, never once dropping in intensity or ferocity. ‘Electric Golden Monk’ is a track worth it’s length in gold. Filled with uber-catchy riffs, that meander at a moderate-to-slow tempo, and the dissonance inspiring an almost black metal-meets industrial kind of atmosphere. Benblast continues in the same vein, with the polyrhythmic hammer strike gears you up for the insane effects to follow. This song is bound to trip you out. Ostpeppar provides an instrumental interlude and some breathing space, but only to launch you into another spiraling riff. Traces still reeks a little of some ‘inspired’ riffs and passages, and the attempt at clean vocals(which sounds a little weak) cannot help but invite comparision to TesseracT. The latter part of the song, however, gives a nice post-metalish transition back to some crazily written sections.
‘Phobon Nika’ continues with the ‘post’ vibe, and Måsstadens Nationalsång acts as the other part of what is essentially the ‘filler’ section of the album, though an interesting one at that. Though ‘When No One Walks With You’ seems tame to start with, it slowly builds up to an orgy of riffs to end with, and continues seamlessly into ‘All These Feelings’. Another example of songwriting that is reminiscent of bands like Gorguts and Psypheria. The clean guitar sections with the mild reverb effect lend a stunning orchestral feel to the song. Then follows the infamous Nojja, which features a formidable guitar attack with some tightly picked tremolo sections. ‘Deceit’, much like ‘Traces’, is more of a ‘djent’ track than the style they’ve managed to deal out for a major portion of this album. However, it soon provides a progression that is bound to leave the causal listener astounded as to what it progresses to.
‘The Lone Deranger’ is an epic album closer, starting with a warm, clean passage and moving on to face melting riffage. The diminished third pull offs, the pinches…it’s an overpowering ensemble of intelligent, catchy motifs. Throughout the album, the bass does a nice job of accentuating the guitarwork, and the percussion sounds as ‘well crafted’ as the rest of the composition. the mixing and mastering has been handled in a most professional fashion, and could frankly have not been better. This is definitely one of the top ten metal releases of 2011, and one of the most important releases for the ‘progressive metal/djent’ tag so far.
And to top it all off, they’re playing their first live show to promote their album in India. IIT Chennai, Saarang. This should be one hell of an experience. Final rating, 9.1/10.