Our ‘zine is on a Black Metal trip this week. French rituals just got the better of us earlier, and now the vast cosmos is beckoning the World o’ RMR. It’s time to fire up that star cruiser and hit warp speed quickly. Because Vorga here just sent a few distress messages. The space station is on and under fire, and the enemy numerous. So, ready yer guns and keep on Striving Toward Oblivion. You might not survive this strife, but valiant space troopers know no fear, right?
It’s quite some time that RMR did not cover some decent Sci-Fi Metal piece. And more often than not, you get them from the Power Metal screamers that get so close to glam, I wanna go and buy some shampoo. So, luckily, the Germans from Vorga rushed forward in a Black Metal setting with a heavy dose of atmospherics pregnant with Death Metal fringe benefits and trve cosmic action.
The deck crew here relished that meaty Black Metal sound that thrives on fat muscly tremolos and precise thundering drums on stellar steroids. All of that comes with expertly executed, yet somewhat monotone rasps that relentlessly damage yer ears. Even if we truly got a kick out of the subdued choir-ish chanting somewhere back in the mix that suddenly appears in Comet.
In a way, Striving Toward Oblivion somewhat resembles Imperialist’s Zenith. But only so far as to match the meaty riffs and true metallic power. Vorga here firmly got the helm when it comes to vicious Black Metal that is just melodic and atmospheric enough to sate those modern urges of today’s blackened metalhead.
We indeed fancied the pretty neat production, the sometimes majestic flow, the flawlessly executed changes of tempi and rhythm. One would think that this kind of cosmic fare must come mid-tempo only. But this is a wicked band, and space is a weird and brutal place. Thus, they move from a true melodic setting to an evilly speedy approach at no moment’s notice. The fact that this seems effortless is proof of some pretty outstanding musicianship.
Yet again, the unrelenting wall of sound soon starts to show signs of the repetition bug. And whilst the quality of the metal is pretty outstanding, this lack of hooks might very well send a part of the fanbase off to other bands. In fact, the production sometimes blurs a tad too much with overwrought atmospherics, to the point that it starts to resemble the fantasy folks of the dreaded drum machine out there.
And to add insult to injury, the straight-in-yer-face ceaseless rasps ain’t too helpful either. The vocalist rages and screams pretty much right through the record, and that’s never a good sign. It’s funny, but bludgeoning every space rock in sight into small pieces sometimes works to the band’s disadvantage. And that’s not the first record that walks straight into that very same trap. In other words, the songwriting should have been left with some room to breathe and new ideas to flow in. Right now it is way too easy to get lost in much of the same muchness and too difficult to discern the undeniable juicy gems scattered throughout the record.
Despite all these shortcomings, though, Striving Toward Oblivion is a very strong debut full-length record. The RMR crew relished the maturity, that knack to tell a cosmic story through sound and unclean lyrics alone. The band ably painted some pretty grandiose soundscapes on that cosmic canvas of theirs. Soaring riffs, mighty melodies, and comfortable atmospheric Black Metal brutality truly make you want to board that spaceship and blast off into the dusty yonder. To find those evil aliens that may lurk somewhere in between all those galaxies.
So godspeed to Vorga, and we’re already waiting for that next installment of cosmic shenanigans.