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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Review: Vanargandr - Uralten Todgeist Promo 2011

Vanargandr - Uralten Todgeist Promo 2011
Vanargandr is the solo project of one Wellington based "Fenrirsson". It has been in existence since the mid/late 90s and has been responsible for intro and interlude tracks on albums by Vassafor and Heresiarch.   "Uralten Todgeist Promo 2011" is a taster for the Vanargandr full length CD, which is self described as  it's "Sinister Magnum Opus - a monument to Death Worship".
The sound contained within, could best be described as dark oppressive apocalyptic noise soundscapes. You could probably also use the word "ambient", but it would be kind of like calling a banana a type of apple because it has the fruit label in common. If there is something to anchor Vanargandr against it would be closer to the noise of Merzbow or Whitehouse than anything musical.
This promo contains three tracks of which I can't tell you the full titles of because the track list is printed in light grey against a darker grey back ground (See above), which is probably intentional. Throughout the tracks you are taken across various journeys of impending hopelessness.   Imagine shitting yourself in fear of your life, whilst trapped inside in a giant subterranean concrete pipe as that monster from the movie "Cloverfield" stomps around above you roaring with Tanks and Jets try to bomb the crap out of it. All this combined with additional unidentifiable howls, crashes and low frequency drones from places beyond. That's what I see when listening to the 9 minute long second track.
It's hard to  say what is good and bad about "Uralten Todgeist" rather that it is an experience best had alone in pitch darkness with headphones on.  Vanargandr is truly it's own thing.

A post on the Vanargandr facebook page says "Death monument "Uralten Todgeist" will be available no earlier than April 2012. Paradoxically, while there will be copies pressed, none will be available for sale for money. Limitation will not be disclosed, and all copies will be misnumbered". It's anyones guess what that means and how you would obtain a copy, but I'd say looking here would be a good place to start.

This brings me to the end of the Uralten Todgeist review and to a quick word I wanted to say about the Vanargandr Live show which I recently witnessed here:

While this was still a unique experience, it consisted of Fenrirsson wearing a cloak in a corner on a microphone and not moving for the entire set whilst Vomit, Piss and Torture porn was projected against the wall behind him.  This imagery was powerful, and I still  remember the the text "Miss Iowa 1994" appearing below one of the actresses before indulging in vomit and urine swapping with another unnamed model. But it's effect was to override the fact that there was actually a performance happening.  
There is huge scope in Vanargandr performances to enhance the impact of sound by not only using various moving and still images to reinforce the themes, but for Fenrirsson to enhane it him self by utilising his own presence to add different creative performances of his own.  There is huge opportunity here to shock and get in the audiences face in a way that they will know they have just witnessed Vanargandr!   Just  a thought to consider....

Vanargandr Live at an earlier show in Wellington.

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