Voodus - Open the Otherness
Shadow Records
Melodic Black Death Doom Metal
2 songs (24'24")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex

2018 release Into the Wild by Swedish melodic black death metallers Voodus sloshed around in my player long enough that today’s review for it would have been irrelevant, so I decided to instead concentrate on more recent two track EP Open the Otherness. Two track under normal circumstance may be only a short glimpse of the band, but in the case of Open the Otherness it is fairly representative of the Voodus last couple of years and where the band is moving.

One look at the release may give you pause. Both tracks are in excess of 11 min, and normally black death metal doesn’t lend itself to these long convoluted compositions. Voodus, however, is no stranger to this approach Into the Wild having dealt with this rather successfully. The strategy has been tried already, and becomes obvious from the very beginning of the title track. Whereas the composition begins with a blast, a painting of dark acoustic soundscape takes over for a couple of minutes, and only by 3’ minute into the track the main course of Naglfar-like riffs begins. It is soon thereafter when things become ultra-melodic and a solo emerges at one point. Double bass/blast supported tremolo melodies rule and the track grows to be an epic and gloomy affair, until 7.5’ when the dark acoustic returns. Interspersed with some shorter energetic bursts, the title track mainly rides out its length into what can be called almost melodic doom with prominent cool bass lines. Going into this less intense, less distorted and less energetic direction is not new for Voodus as Into the Wild saw those forays as well.

Pillars of Fire also lunges into blastbeat territory originally, while using voracious double bass parts and distorted slower guitar parts as hell descriptors. Rasps, screams and whispers standing for vocals are also par for the course. Voodus are masters of organic tempo changes, knowing how to vary from midtempo to thundering double bass culminating in blasting around 6-7’. Lake of Tears like clean melody is where things end up after that with a touch of synth and what seems like ageless and eternal tribal beat. The one last breath of fire tries rearing its head around 9’, but the outro (more concise yet more monumental than in the title track) closes things out.

If you don’t need your Swedish black death metal to be non-stop Marduk, and are willing to immerse yourself in a story, which Voodus is undoubtedly unfolding, you won’t notice the length of these tracks and will drift along with them without counting minutes. The storytelling by Voodus is largely successful, call them Iced Earth of the genre akin to Dante’s Inferno from Burnt Offerings, but I wish they push the balance more towards blackened extremes. The mid-part of the title track is glorious and I wanted to hear more of it. Open the Otherness, if anything, has played it almost too safe. Good listen nonetheless, and doesn’t overstay its duration.

Killing Songs :
Alex quoted 78 / 100
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