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