The last time we heard from Völur, it was 2016, an orange fascist certainly did not have access to the United States' nuclear codes, and they'd just officially released Disir, their stunning debut (and, soon after, they captured my heart at Prophecy Fest). It was a quieter, simpler time, that now seems like a fragmented memory, but even then, it was apparent that this Canadian trio was doing something special. Now, in what feels like no time at all, the band—comprised of electric violinist and vocalist Laura C. Bates, bassist and vocalist Lucas Gadke (also of Blood Ceremony) and drummer Jimmy Payment (Do Make Say Think)—is back with a new joint to rival Disir's progressive, Norse-inspired magic.
Ancestors builds upon the band's eldritch foundation, channeling all the bombast of latter-era Bathory without succumbing to the darkness. Instead, that heady brew of folk, doom, prog, chamber music, medieval vocal harmonies, and ritual atmosphere continues to float above this mortal plane. On this album, the distorted, drum-and-bass-led doom influence is more heavily pronounced, even as the violin is given more license to soar into almost classical territory and the dual harsh-ghostly vocals from Gadke and Bates command attention whenever they surface. Völur generally prefers to let the strings and skins do the talking, but I'd argue that their vocal passages are some of the strongest on the album—especially when Gadke lets loose his rumble, or Bates' pipes veer into glorious banshee territory.
It's always interesting to see how a heavy rock/metal-oriented band navigates a guitar-less existence, and the unique pairing of Bates' wildly expressive electric violin with Gadke's acrobatic, commanding bass makes quite a compelling argument for the practice. On Ancestors, Payment's drums take a back seat, providing balance, nuance, and depth while the strings and vocals fulfill grandiose ambitions and ancient prophecies. The end result is intoxicating, and cements Völur's status as one of the most intriguing new bands in heavy music.
Listen for yourself below, and snag the record from Prophecy Productions on June 2.
Kim Kelly is hexing motherfuckers on Twitter.