Walk Through Fire - Var Avgrund

27 Mar 2020 - Thorsten

Doom-Sludge | Wolves And Vibrancy | Release date: 27 Mar 2020

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Sweden has always been home to numerous time bending and heavy defining bands - Walk Through Fire can explain why.

What would The Doors be without Ray Manzarek on the keys? A good band, maybe even very good, but who can imagine “Light my Fire” without Manzarek’s amazing intro? No one, right? Now, not to compare Walk Through Fire to The Doors – wouldn’t do either band justice – but their sound is heavily characterized by the use of keys, in this case, the use of an organ.

Walk Through Fire have just released their third full-length Var Avrgund (‘Before the Abyss’), the first in their mother tongue Swedish, which is a change that might not be audible because of the deep growls and bellows. The vocals are merely a strong element within the whole soundscape of the quintet from Gothenburg. The unique-selling-point, that marketing strategists would be searching for, is the band’s sound. It is rough and, unlike many other Scandinavian doom-inspired bands, not really polished but gritty and always a little dirty. However, their sound is really outstandingly singular and is accompanied by a near-perfection feeling for songwriting.

If we take off the intro (“Avgrund”) and it near 150 seconds, then we have six songs in over 73 minutes – an average of more than 12 minutes per song! However, the song lengths should not wrongfully lead to the conclusion that WTF (if the acronym is an accident? Who knows!) are a funeral doom band is wrong. Even though they share a similar liking for songs over ten minutes – the longest one is nearly 20 minutes long – there is one major difference to the usual funeral doom bands: Walk Through Fire are more drone-inspired than bands like Bell Witch. In that sense they are similar to Mizmor, although they don’t use blastbeats and black metal screams. The use of hard-hit cymbals and droney, gritty guitar motifs are able to prolong the final track “Tragedin” to its final maximum length, and yet they are only a part of this opus magnum, for sometimes you will not hear anything really on the track as the band is able to hold pauses and to give even the pauses enough space to breathe, so that here one might come back to what makes a lot of modern metal so interesting: It’s not the riffs or the speedy notes and chords, it’s rather those moments when nothing is happening – either because of a drone or because of silence. And admittedly Walk Through Fire are masters at keeping the silences meaningful.

The Doors had a master craftsman behind the keys creating the psychedelic moments that make them stand out, Walk Through Fire have a master using the keys to keep the soundscape singular and breathing.