Vorga / New Album Takes Black Metal To Cosmic Heights

German Black Metallers Vorga take a slingshot off the success of their previous full-length 2022’s Striving Toward Oblivion and build on that past achievement with their latest offering, the seven-track, forty-three-minute Beyond The Palest Star. Once again, they cleverly and subtly meld elements of cosmic sci-fi with aspects of death and misanthropy within their lyrics in an engaging and intriguing manner.

Vorga – Beyond The Palest Star (Transcending Obscurity Records)

Release Date: 29 March 2024

Words: Jools Green

Soundwise, it’s a little more melodic than their previous offering, but it still has that slightly Black/Death Metal, Necrophobic feel with a generous dose of blast beats and an often driving wall of sound, adding a good amount of brutality balanced by the more melodic side.

But they still maintain a strong Black Metal atmosphere, particularly in the way the instrumentation is tightly woven together, which is at times icy. The very sharp modern production adds to the slightly futuristic, sci-fi feel of the music.

Vorga - Beyond The Palest Star - A generous dose of blast beats and an often driving wall of sound
Vorga – Beyond The Palest Star – A generous dose of blast beats and an often driving wall of sound

Hauntingly ominous to open, with its extensive intro, Voideath rapidly builds into a brief driving wall of riff and drum battery, dropping back to a mid-pace blackened plod just before the arrival of the acidic vocal screams. First track in and vocalist/guitarist/bassist Спейса is already delivering a good range to his vocals, from growls up to acidic screams.

The pace ebbs and builds engagingly across the length of the track, with a straightforward but effective burst of leadwork midway through and again at the close, where it takes on an eerie tone. A superbly engaging opener that makes you want to hear more.

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Also, with a long, suspenseful intro, The Sophist ebbs between two moods, a slower reflective plod and a faster driving one. The melodic element develops as the track progresses and I do like the brief drop away to a bass and drum interlude in the second half. It’s deceptively powerful and the tormented vocal screams that follow are dramatically impactful.

Magical Thinking is a superb piece. It might well be the best on the album. It’s haunting, dark, and reflective, and the strong, defined bass lines create the atmosphere of the track, with the drum work echoing that. The capacious second-half leadwork is sublime, making this a magical listen.

The Cataclysm is, in many ways, a wild card track. An intense blackened driver from the offset, it galops along from start to finish without any dramatic drops or bursts of leadwork. It does ebb and build enough to keep your interest, with the pace gradually tailing off a bit towards the end. Then, it suddenly ceases to be very dramatic.

Tragic Humanity has a superbly engaging melodic intro. A minute in, it suddenly turns into a Black Metal beast of a track, but that haunting melodic element returns between the Black Metal drive.

Fractal Cascade delivers a mid-pace drive to open alongside superbly protracted opening vocals. The protraction continues across the track, gradually dropping away to just drum and guitar. It becomes increasingly scarce and reflective as it progresses but is a little more complex and melodic in construct towards the close.

Terminal has a very eerie sci-fi feel synth opener. It is slow and ominous to start, building gradually in pace, depth, texture and intensity into an engagingly complex final piece that makes you want to listen to the album all over again.

The artwork for Beyond The Palest Star was once again created by Adam Burke, who also created the artwork for their labelmates, the American Black Metal sci-fi outfit Imperialist.

There is a slight similarity between these bands musically too. So if you are a fan of them, Necrophobic or just like a sci-fi twist to your Black Metal, then this release should be of great interest to you. It’s a hugely engaging, superbly fluid listen from start to finish.

Every track builds with promise and most importantly, delivers.

Sleeve Notes

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