Vukovar – Infinitum (Le Recours aux Forêts Production / Solar Ascetisists Productions)
Cassette / DL
6 July 2018
Industrial churchcore band return with a new album. Paul Scott-Bates reviews for Louder Than War.
There is mystery surrounding Vukovar, not the regular what they look like, or, what they had for breakfast but instead, the mystery is why they haven’t achieved much greater success so far as it is all that they deserve. Hints of Joy Division perhaps but with a darker, more melodious approach. Sparse in chorus but plentiful in riveting gloom presentation and wonderful lyricism, Infinitum sees them progress once more.
As if their last album proper, Puritan wasn’t testament to the incredible promise that the band have, then Infinitum blasts that into the past with nine new tracks of sombre often challenging territory. Cleverly utilising waltzy type melodies and black bass lines together with reverbed drum beats, Vukovar once more visit the place which they seem so at ease in existing.
Album opener, Rites begins with a pounding, continuous drumbeat which soon subsides to a gentle spoken word affair from their singer, who probably gives his finest performance in a Vukovar shirt to date. Synth swathes touch on the beautiful as they occasional move up and down the musical scale which leads into In The Overgarden via more spoken word and an initial opening not dissimilar to Bowie’s Heroes. The comparisons to Joy Division will always be there but ironically, vocals sound more like Bernard Sumner than he does Ian Curtis and, is perfectly adept at his voice reaching both low and high pitched in an accomplished, underrated way.
Vukovar are no pop band nor are they one-trick ponies as this, their fifth album testifies. They are competent enough to explore their sound further and the pain and suffering conveyed in their music is something that is severely lacking from much of today’s bands. The Skin Is New The Skin Is Ours is perhaps the albums most commercial attempt – a track of just voice and scrawny keyboard and an occasional cymbal sound towards the end – it is desperate and dramatic and simply superb.
Infinitum, and similarly Vukovar as a whole need to be listened to with open mind and heart. As the withdrawn An Invincible Prison launches into an unpredictable screeching guitar will testify. Feedback, distortion and unadulterated power. The House Of Thirteen Scenes is creepy on a horror movie scale and The Destroying Place sees them go as close to mainstream friendly as they could possibly get.
Infinitum is another triumph and however difficult and strenuous the recording process was, Vukovar have certainly put sweat, heart and soul into making it. If you’re unfamiliar with their work then now is the time to jump on board. Brilliant.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop and you can follow him on Twitter as @hiapop, and on Facebook here.