A cacophony of emotional atmospheric metal music oozes from the yearning arpeggios and tremolos. The melodies swirl, the music swells and rushes as the bass and drums drive the anguished vocal screams from strength to strength.
The eagerly awaited new release from the Danes Vægtløs is finally here to give us food for introspection through four bold songs ripping at your innermost thoughts about life and existence. Whether you understand the Danish lyrics or not, you do not leave this music without marks on your soul. These are songs about the Grim Reaper with the scythe cutting down those close to you too soon. Yes, it is about death, but not as a cartoonish gimmick as is often the case in metal-related music. But death as a part of your existence, death as existentialism. The death that leaves a bottomless void and the struggle to understand and forge some resilience.
That demands a lot of the music and the atmosphere it manages to forge. Vægtløs does this to perfection using the distorted guitars to make an elongated heaving and sinking melodic tapestry. The virtually liquid arpeggios and tremolos make out the yearning urge. But the emotional melodies are often counterpointed with wide-open sonic spaces, low-end bass, steady drums, and clean guitar. The emotions are further infused by the anguished and desperate Screamo vocals. As a total, the sonics on this album are a rendition of grief; the shock, the loss, the bottomless sorrow - the will to understand and trudge on with life. Try to gain some normality.
Since Vægtløs came blazing to the scene in August 2022 with a split-release with Mill & Taagebue followed up with Kakofoni in November of the same year it was apparent that this band poured something new and fresh into the metal ladle of music, fusing everything “Post” into their output to convey and share their deeply personal experiences through their take on distorted and dense metal music with tormented vocals.
The opening song begins with dark sonics and the first sampled word that is spoken is ”Død.” (“Death”). The soft spoken male voice continues, ”Den har jeg truffet da jeg var dreng.” (“I met it when I was a boy”). The voice is immersed in low foreboding Ambient sounds with a creaking clean guitar. The talking voice is succeeded by an anguished Screamo line while the slow floating music lingers on. Then everything is lifted and fused into heavy and tight tremolo and arpeggio sonics heaving and sinking, laying out a melodic theme, drums deep in the sonics, a grooving bass laying a thick layered foundation. The dense music stumbles upon mellow, open sonics. Here the guitar strums while a bass takes over and plays slow and long takes on the strings and the drums begin to give pace to the wide and calm sonics. Another surge swells until it melts into a fluid stream of distorted guitars charging with the melodic theme and the screams over it on top of a fast bass and fierce drumming hitting cymbals. There is a subtle change in the stream of thick guitars shifting to a melodic theme with tremolos that rise and rise until It tightens charging forward an endlessly growing yearning, trying to reach a crescendo that might be there while sound effects embrace the longing music.
The band dips into many styles to conjure the emotions necessary to support the vehemence of the vocals. The second track opens at Funeral Doom riffs and thick and clean notes on a bass string. Then the guitars splinter the slow pace in different directions with the rolling, grooving bass pushing the energetic speed of the steady drums. The tremolos bark out a melodic theme before a sidestep into a short dissonant burst of yearning vocals as the music breathes a bit before the tremolos are back, drums blasting beneath it and the bass still rolling.
In all the layers of each song, and through the shifts and twists it is like every song searches for an emotive crescendo. The music lifts into crescendos just to decrease into vast reflective parts and then fuse back to search for another peak. Made in such a way, it is a metaphor for how grief is. It seizes you, but also lets go sometimes, only to capture you again. In the third song, there is a part that conveys this when a short swelling guitar tries to overtake the bass but does not get a grip and the music comes to a standstill with guitars, bass, and drums undecided where to go. When they find a direction, it makes for an effective relief as the surge of guitars is pushed by the blast drums and the rolling higher-pitched bass surrounding the vocals. It rises furthermore to an engaging emotional climax as the drums fall into a rhythm driving it forward led by the bass and riffing tremolos with subtle shifts in tonality.
Through their music, the band turns what is deeply personal for them into something universal for all of us to reflect on. The way the music is made with its layers it becomes four elegies. But the titles of the songs and the lyrics make an extra dimension as they are deep-felt poetry. It is in Danish, but a web-based translator will help you. The lyrics are available on Bandcamp and should be read while listening. The lyrics of the third song are a short novel (the Hemmingway way) and also give meaning to the album´s title,
”Jeg I håber, du ved, hvem du var, da dit hjerte stoppede bråt 4 mennesker til din begravelse 2 af pligt, 2 kom for sent Er det aftryk, du har sat på jorden”
which translates into
”I hope you know who you were when your heart stopped suddenly 4 people at your funeral 2 out of duty, 2 came late Is the impact you have left while on earth”.
No one is weightless, everyone leaves a mark, an impression, and a void to be filled among those left behind.