NEW HEAVY SOUNDS
Voodoo rock with a kaleidoscopic vision
it would Be
easy to take exception to Vôdûn. On paper, they are a hipster’s dream: unconventional, multi-racial and not quite heavy enough to upset Royal Blood fans. In reality, their second album is so preposterously exciting and unremittingly inventive that even the crushing likelihood that the band will one day end up on Later… With Jools Holland seems a bitter pill worth swallowing. Ultimately, Ascend hits the target because it so obviously comes from a place of sincerity, even while accruing cool points along the way. Vocalist Chantal Brown is an irresistible force of nature, of course, her incensed, soulful delivery covering an insane spread of emotional colour while The Marassa’s primal but refined riffs and drummer Ogoun’s octopoid clatter propel the whole thing breathlessly along.
But it’s the songs themselves that will linger long in the memory after the briefest of listens. Where Vôdûn’s Possession debut felt a little rushed and naïve, Ascend simply soars. Something like Started From could have been an unremarkable hard rock song in less capable hands, but thanks to an inspired arrangement, several bursts of euphoric gospel choir and a dose of pointedly political spoken word, it feels more like a condensed hippie musical than a four-minute anthem. Similarly, the almost comically energetic Providence Of Ancestors is both an exercise in pure doom metal abandon and a wild fuzz-punk ritual, replete with mad percussion and a dash of syncopated funk. Ogoun’s Flight is a Sabbath-meets-Fela Kuti cut’n’shut that should have Goat and Here Lies Man fans drooling, while the title track gets its Led Zep voodoo vibe on with dizzying panache. Barely a track goes by without some perverse, unexpected embellishment, but
Vôdûn’s mastery of the groove is absolute and their eccentricity never gets in the way of a massive riff. Let’s claim them for our own before someone else nicks them.
FOR FANS OF: BLACK SABBATH, GOAT, THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX
Vôdûn: pure magic