Vittra – Blasphemy Blues
Vittra is a Swedish Melodic Death/Thrash Metal band formed in 2017. In 2021, they released their debut EP, releasing their debut full-length, Blasphemy Blues, a year later. Melding old-school Thrash (think 80s Megadeth/In Flames) with a more modern feeling Death Metal, and you get an interesting blend of tones and textures that grab the ear and take hold. The guitar work, especially around the solos, is eloquent and tastefully done while the rhythms chug along, taking the tempo to task and driving the songs forward with precision. The growled vocals, with occasional flashes of clean from a female voice, add to the depth of the feelings this album offers.
- David Döragrip – Vocals
- Johan Murmester – Guitars
- Gustav Svensson – Bass
- Alex Smith – Drums
November 11, 2022.
- Halls Of Ancients
- Feeding Frenzy
The record opens with “Colossal,” a song with a very melodic intro that gives way to a fast rhythm that goes a bit above thrash. The blast beats on the drums are well done, throwing in some fantastic patterned footwork to keep the listener on their toes. The lead work on the guitar is prevalent, running the entire song length and layering in nicely. The tempo shifts and riff changes are well executed, hitting at just the right spot. David’s vocals are excellent, and his growl is clear and reasonably precise in most of his pronunciations.
‘Halls Of Ancients” opens faster and heavier, then goes a bit more melodic for the verses. The scattered prayers and religious references are an interesting twist. Shifts in the rhythms and guitar phrasing go a long way to showing off a bit of Progressive Metal credibility. The shifts and twists in the song are again very well done and well placed, feeling organic to the track, not forced in an attempt to create something different.
Like other songs on this record, “Satmara” blends Swedish and English lyrics. The opening acoustic guitar work is tasteful and an excellent lead-in to the main riff, even repeating for a few measures with an electric guitar. This song has an awesome groove, and the Prog shift at the bridge is really nicely done. This band knows how to write great songs with many killer tones, tempo shifts, and stunning musicianship.
“Lykantropi” has a cool chugging intro featuring a muted guitar and drums. The transition to the main riff continues the phrasing, which I liked. The song is not one of their fastest, but it is really solid. When “Feeding Frenzy” kicks in, you get the faster tempo again. This ability to vary speeds and rhythms without losing overall power is quite impressive. And the harsh vocals fit both ends of the spectrum.
Here is something that will surprise no one. One of the harshest songs on the record is called “Self-Loathing.” Why is this no big surprise? Most people are their own worst enemies and worst critics. It is virtually impossible to hate yourself and love another, making it harder to be a part of any society, with the possible exception of the metalhead community, which is known for being hyper-critical of self at times.
“Temptation” is also really heavy and quite harsh, but the tone is not quite as dark as “Self-Loathing.” Maybe that’s just in my head, but it is what I think/feel when I listen to the two songs back-to-back. “Sommarfodd” adds female vocals and an odd chanting sequence to give the track a different feel than much of the rest of the album. Those interludes are very melodic and quite enchanting. It shows a broader breadth of talents for the band and the songwriters.
The album closes with “Undead,” a bonus track that is also the shortest song on the disc, barely clearing two minutes. It is fast, frenetic, and full of heavy riffing. Like much of this album, the tempo is very fast, and the harshness is brutal. I mean, isn’t that what you expect from a band that combines Melodic Death and Thrash Metals? The entire album has a really good cohesiveness. The songs all feel and sound like they belong together, not some scattershot collection of tracks that leave you wondering what the band was trying to accomplish.
Vittra is set to release a solid debut album with well-thought-out songs and a coherent, cohesive sound. They aren’t trying to impress you with a lot of little things, instead opting to build a solid record that shows their proper form, being unapologetically them rather than trying to check all the boxes to get false recognition. The shifting of languages is impressive, with the Swedish often giving the lyrics a rougher edge. At least it sounds harsher to me because it isn’t my native tongue. Overall, I’m quite pleased with how this album hit the ear holes.
- Guitars – 9
- Rhythms – 9
- Vocals – 9
- Songwriting – 9
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9.00