Vukover releases can challenge. They can shift and distort through their moods without warning, switch from pent up to hard pitched aggression. Swathes of sound can engulf in a thick no-wave layer, then release into loosely strung structures. This requires us to dig deep, and sometimes play catch-up, as we’re led through some Silent Hill roadmap. But it’s always worth following, always worth listening, as the tracks turn through unknown terrains.
Knowing and awaiting the above from Vukovar makes this album all the more unexpected. There’s a predominant thickness and width to the sound, a solidified texture and tone. A congealed sense of warning, foreboding and threat seems to hang like a glue to the tracks. It might be more cohesive, but we get the same kick, the same twist of that lift and release. This new wave of no-wave, the cavernous sounds, leave a stain like a strange kind of imprint.
‘The Great Immurement’s opening trilogy of songs is perhaps the best sonic stretch of recent albums. If the closing tracks of Joy Division’s ‘Closer’ were reimagined in the vein of Philip Glass Vs Blondie, or Peter Gabriel’s cover of ‘Heroes‘, we might get somewhere close to the feel. ‘Your Icarus’ moves at a glacial speed, with a chamber of layered synth arrangements. This leads and bleeds into ‘The Solar Anus Pt.1’ (and part 2) which brings a bent kind of joy to the gloom. All three tracks build a template and stretch its direction, it’s from here we spin heel and kick outward.
‘Psalm’ is a goth-guilded, iced Brian Eno. ‘This Immortal Hour’ is stripped out post punk. ‘O Eden’ and ‘The Nurses‘ are skeletal frameworks that spook between restless and tangle. ‘The Great Immured And His Sea Of Love‘ is a skilfully lengthened and patient last track that flows between lovelost and chilling… before all sense of calm gets corrupted. ‘Sculpt the Sculptor‘ is that song’s baby brother. And for rough kicks and signature Vukovar aggression, we get the album’s lead single, ‘When Rome Falls’. It’s fast paced and gritted with clenched teeth and tough noise, that runs towards industrial punk.
All the challenge is here but it’s measured, that Silent Hill map’s a shade clearer. All the mood and the warning and fear, it’s still there, along with some new threads and tricks. The clarity suits, and because of it, every song feels more human than horror.