Voodoo metallers’ spell looks like it’s in­creas­ing its po­tency

Kerrang! (UK) - - Lives -

■ In the same month that Ghost il­lus­trate how far hav­ing an en­gag­ing con­cept can take a band by thor­oughly en­chant­ing Lon­don’s Royal Al­bert Hall, Vodun take more mod­est, but equally pas­sion­ate, steps to grow their own mu­si­cal vi­sion. Named, as vo­cal­ist Oya ex­plains this evening, after a West African be­lief sys­tem once de­monised by slav­ery and cap­i­tal­ism “and all that bull­shit”, Vodun are a fas­ci­nat­ing prospect. And even though this isn’t the full­fire pro­duc­tion of a Ramm­stein show, they nev­er­the­less fill this space with great washes of bril­liant colour.

This evening serves as a cel­e­bra­tion of the re­lease of their sec­ond al­bum, As­cend, with the Lon­don-based trio swelling their ranks to in­clude a back­ing singer, per­cus­sion­ist and sax­o­phon­ist to fully con­vey their ex­pan­sive har­monic, per­cus­sive and eclec­tic clout. It makes for a be­wil­der­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, not just be­cause Vodun are quite un­like any other band, but be­cause au­di­ences aren’t al­ways sure what to do in re­ac­tion to their mu­sic. Oya’s in­cred­i­ble vo­cals are too ac­ro­batic for singing along with, and the rhythms too un­pre­dictable to move to. You just have to let it hit you and go with it.

In the mo­ments when ev­ery­thing aligns, with band and au­di­ence in sync, there are sparks of real magic. Grave Lines vo­cal­ist Jake Hard­ing’s cameo dur­ing New Doom pro­vides a sober­ing change of pace when things get a bit too fran­tic, although As­cend’s ti­tle-track soon re­sets the dial and is the per­fect dis­til­la­tion of the band’s com­bi­na­tion of power, the­atri­cal­ity and to­geth­er­ness. Oya even en­cour­ages the use of makeshift in­stru­ments to play along on. “What­ever you can find, please grab,” she laughs. It’s an ap­pro­pri­ate sen­ti­ment, be­cause when Vodun’s mu­sic takes hold tonight, it’s hard to slip its in­tox­i­cat­ing grip. JAMES HICKIE

Thanks for punch­ing “thwrouaghh, dthuede,dy­goeuof kth­ne­ow­paeg-em.in­noor,?”re­ally…

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