*This is part of our monthly State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is New Mexico.*
Like the hot winds of Armageddon’s wrath, Sante Fe, New Mexico’s Vanum delivers a modern black metal inferno of atmosphere and intensity that harkens back to a classic sound. Their appropriately titled release ‘Ageless Fire,’ which just dropped last month on Profound Lore Records, could easily be the soundtrack to the end of days. While stylistically, Vanum’s sound is reminiscent of black metal’s golden era, thankfully they opt for a more modern, post-black metal production quality that gives the songs’ vast soundscapes the appropriate canvas on which to shine at their best. Not to be confused, however, the riffs on ‘Ageless Fire’ sound as filthy as to be expected while the drumming is able to effectively maintain a certain garage-like nastiness. Vocals genuinely and viscerally convey the primal screams of a tormented soul, especially during the music’s frequent, intense tremolo-picked passages.
My personal favorite track is “Eternity,” a just over 10-minute sonic labyrinth that makes full use of Vanum’s atmosphere-building dynamics. The strength of the relentless riffing evokes the power of hellfire, then by midpoint, an ethereal abyss pulls you in for a breath of solitude just before moments later being thrown back into raging chaos.
In addition to the newly released ‘Ageless Fire,’ Vanum has also released ‘Realm of Sacrifice’ (2015) and ‘Burning Arrow’ (2017) since their inception in 2014. Fans of similar bands like Bathory, Emperor, and Burzum will definitely want to check out the self-described “elemental and majestic black metal” of New Mexico’s Vanum.