Vukari - Divination
Eihwaz Recordings
Atmospheric Black Metal
8 songs (48'41")
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Alex

Chicago, IL Vukari makes sure that atmospheric black metal they play has its focus on Atmosphere, with a capital A. Too often the genre has orthodox black metal foundation with floating synthesizers or an occasional interlude, and the band would label themselves atmospheric. Not Vukari, they truly mean it on Divination and go out of their way to show it.

The dissolution and sedation sound of Divination I actually had me thinking about movies where the beginning is actually depicting how the story ends and the rest of the film would show how the outcome came to be. Before I got too carried away with a cinematic feel, Divination II made sure the album will have its serious black metal moments after all, jolted me back to reality, blasted hard and unleashed a grinding tremolo. Yet before too long, and at the same time all of a sudden, distorted guitar sound cleared up, became twangy and resonant, playing a heartfelt melody amidst the muck. And so like an addict wanting respite, and luckily achieving it, I learned to seek and receive atmosphere with every track on Divination. As a band, Vukari is incredibly skilled at ratcheting up intensity almost at the beginning of every composition, and then crush it melodically with a sense of pride and triumph. Bathe in the Divine Light sees their desire to be unrelentingly monumental, with constant build ups and flows without ebbs, almost tiringly so, yet pleasant warm feeling remains in the end. After the album is over I certainly thought more about post-rock in Vukari's delivery than their viciousness. Only Ad Delerium II starts out dreamy, then adds weight and girth barreling down the waterfall. Brief Ad Delerium I may be foreboding, but there plenty of jazzy drifts with your eyes closed on Divination as Cursus Honorum and the beginning of Ad Delerium II would attest. Vukari's vocals are another shroud in this layered panoramic album, and although of extreme variety you would never call them grating.

It is certain that Agalloch and Wolves in the Throne Room are atmospheric black metal, but their strength comes from their nature connections and reflections. Vukari, to me anyway, are a lot more urban band, not part of the woods and bonfire, but rather comfortable in non- conformist, more adventurous coffee shop in the middle of the city. Not the one where only New Age lovers gather, but people who can appreciate harsh and unsettled music alongside soaring calmness, as oxymorony as the latter statement may sound.

Killing Songs :
Divination II, Cursus Honorum, Sovereignty Through Extreme Tyranny, Bathe in the Divine Light
Alex quoted 83 / 100
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