Out earlier in the autumn, Sweden’s sludgey doom lords V‘s second record Led Into Exile is a forty minute journey over six tracks, and looks to establish them as potential pretenders to the throne currently occupied by fellow Swedes Cult of Luna. This is full of sweeping dynamic shifts and huge riffs, but can they bring anything else to the table?
The opener Broadcast From The Shadows begins with a slow-burn build, an almost hypnotic drone accompanied by tribal drumming before some dense riffs crash down. But this doesn’t just become your average ‘riff-shout’ assault that many other bands try for. There are genuine moments of melodic interludes, where the heavier sections are given a chance to breathe and the atmospherics flex themselves. Illviljan has a harsher and raw sounding guitar tone, rumbling along with an eye on the grinding early work of Isis or Neurosis. These bands are obviously a great influence on V, and the titanic crush of Hostage Of Souls that follows just reinforces this. However this isn’t just the glistening weight of Celestial, nor the primal heft of Through Silver In Blood.
Led Into Exile is its own master, be it the ghostly almost silence that creeps through Hostage Of Souls, the swaggering Sabbathian doom riffs that open Phantasmagoria or the bleak folk acoustics of None Shall Rise Again…
Led Into Exile is its own master, be it the ghostly almost silence that creeps through Hostage Of Souls, the swaggering Sabbathian doom riffs that open Phantasmagoria or the bleak folk acoustics of None Shall Rise Again. V are chameleonic; one moment hitting you with visceral heaviness and the next tugging on your emotions with beautiful material. It is this that makes them so appealing. Not every band in this style will risk opening themselves up like that, but V do it with aplomb.
As the monolithic title track thunders us to the close of the record, Led Into Exile has left quite an impression on me. Whether crafting massive riffs that loom above like cliffs in the night, wretching vocals echoing around them or allowing us an insight into the quieter moments with acoustics or electronica, V are not just going to play the game the way we expect them too. Led Into Exile is a surprisingly poignant work, and the sooner we can get more from V the better.
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson