Band : Vielikan
Release : Emotional Void (EP)
Year : 2009
Country : Tunisia
Genre : Progressive Death Metal
Label : Independent
Note : 16/20
03.A Vertiginous Fall
Just like any other Arabic/North African country, Tunisia isn't known for its Metal scene. Some people may know Myrath at best, and would think all metal bands sound like them here, with lots and lots of "Oriental" influences. While this isn't entirely false, some bands try to sound original in their own way, without having to use the aforementioned Middle-Eastern influences. Vielikan is definitely the one that stands the most among the rest of said bands.
Living in Tunisia, I have a pretty good idea about what's going on here. The first thing I personally have to congratulate the band for is that they were actually capable of producing a really dark atmosphere, something I've never experienced in any other local band.
While what we have here is a Progressive Death Metal band, the influences are much more varied, borrowing from Death/Doom Metal, Black Metal, and even East-European Folk/Tzigane Music.
The first track, Zero Affection, would make you think you're dealing with a Death/Doom band, with its down-tempo and heavy riffs. My Dying Bride and Ataraxie come to mind, though the music here is not as slow as those two bands, neither as droning or repetitive. It's more about the riffs and the overall mood of the song. The structure is more complex in nature than of the usual Death/Doom band, too, which makes Vielikan closer to other names like Opeth. The Opeth influence doesn't fully manifest itself until the second track though. It's certainly the most "progressive" sounding track on the EP, with its numerous rythm changes, varied influences, clean parts and overall length. The first clean passage actually makes me think of the one you can hear in Deathspell Omega's Diabolus Absconditus, while the latter part has a Jazzy feel to it.
The closer, A Vertiginous Fall, is somehow divided in two parts. The first one is clearly influenced by Gojira riff-wise, and even though I'm not a fan of the french band by any means, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's like mixing a slowed down version of Gojira with Deathspell Omega's atmosphere, and the result is quite interesting.
The second part leans more towards a more mellow sound. The transition comes in the form of a very nice contrast between the incredibly angry-sounding vocals and the sweet, folkish melody that follows until the end, where Fedor, the vocalist, finishes singing in russian.
Something I didn't mention yet is the production. In Tunisia, it costs a shitload of money to record in a "studio" (I put it between " " as there are no professional studios designed for metal music), and the results are usually poor in comparison to the price, so most bands opt for "home recordings", and that's the case here. Vielikan recorded this EP at home while being worried about its quality. Truth is, the production value suits perfectly well the music, it even contributes a lot in making it sound more sinister than what it would have been with a crystal clear production.
The EP is available for free in the band's myspace, so don't hesitate to check it out if you're a fan of the bands I mentioned.