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Album Reviews : Vrag – Black Plague of Human Extinction

By on January 28, 2009

While I always try to keep an open mind to all styles in the musical world, Black Metal is one genre that i’ve not always gotten into, with only a few bands catching my attention. Band’s like Nazxul, Immortal, and the early works of Enslaved, but most of all I’ve always enjoyed the amazing material of Bathory. So it was with great delight that upon hearing Sydney black metal band Vrag and their debut full length, a Bathory homage was paid out, almost in full, albeit in a rawer and even further stripped back than a Quorthorn early demo.

The use of the screaming black metal vocals lend to the album a required atmosphere that is severely lacking due to the poor production on the album. Lyrically, Vrag discusses a range of issues including independence and self empowerment, religion, human issues and death. The inspiration for this content is inspired from various texts and events. From the New Testament inspired ‘Pilate’, through to other songs inspired by amine. Vrag also confronts topics that he self describes as ‘challenging content’, such as Nazi Germany, in which he encourages individual thought.

Sometimes chugging, sometimes open, and other times slightly melodic, the bass guitar is very prominent on this album. In fact so much so that the band recorded, thus presumably also play live, without a single 6 string at all. It certainly doesn’t detract from the album, in fact I only realised that it wasn’t guitars tuned way down to a grinding ‘A’ until after I read the album booklet. The drumming on the album is rather unadventurous, with heavy work on the snare and cymbals summing it up pretty well for me.

I was also gladdened to find in my promo package from the band one of their earlier demo recordings on cassette. There is always a certain charm about listening to music on cassette or, even more preferable, vinyl. It is almost an event in its self when you sit down on with your rusty old and damaged tape deck/record player and it really makes you listen closer to the music. Unfortunately though, the production on this recording was even poorer than the cd, which I guess was always to be expected when you read ‘best listened to at full volume’, which gives the band their excuse that its the over the top decibel levels for the poor sound that are to blame.

Ultimately, as often is the case with music, if you’re a fan of the genre and/or bass guitar delights, check it out. But if you’re a music lover who enjoy good production and variety should probably stay away.

Band: Vrag
Album: Black Plague of Human Extinction
Year: 2008
Genre: Black Metal
Label: Self Released
Origin: Sydney, Australia

Track listing:
1. Woland (Intro)
2. Pilate
3. Cold Air (Reviewer’s Choice)
4. Nighttime
5. In The Cold Light of Solitude
6. Inner Hell Pt 2
7. Hallucination
8. The Secret Discourse Between the Sky and Earth
9. Black Plague of Human Extinction
10. Your Death