Review: Void Cruiser ‘Call Of The Void’
As someone who grew up in the ‘nineties ’90s, reading the promo statement from Helsinki five-piece Void Cruiser citing influences such as Alice In Chains, Type O Negative, Deftones and Kyuss, it feels that being previously unaware of this bands existence, I have spent the last few years missing out.
Having been, in their own words, creating ‘sonic wandering in sullen mindscapes since 2011’ (awesome description) the band have built on the back of their two previous releases, 2015s well received debut Overstaying My Welcome and 2017s follow up offering Wayfarer that is spoken highly of by fellow Shaman scribe Liam Blanc.
Over the course of the last decade, they have established themselves as a solidly dependable act that blend hard rock, metal, grunge sensibilities and a smoky retro melancholic vibe.
Having added the guitar skills of Antti Koski-Laulaja to their ranks since their sophomore effort, they have thickened their already chunky sound and Call Of The Void crunches with a muscular power that dances on fuzz heavy grooves, straddling the chasm between blissed out melody and metal bombast.
Opening with an understated, muted intro the band quickly shift gears and barrel into the kind of chaotic, choppy riffing that served punk influenced nu metal high point Snot so well on their only release. This bouncing flailing is instantly catchy, sucking you in on the 100mph lyrics before they break into a swinging melody, vocalist Santeri Salo in your face one minute and crooning in your ear the next.
As much a product of the driving riffs of Fu Manchu, as it is the off kilter melody of Alice In Chains, A Dragon’s Tail is a five and a half minute slice of mania that grabs your attention by the scruff of the neck, leaving you unsure if it wants to mug you or buy you a beer, concluding with the woozy refrain of ‘I always get what I want’.
The Overgrower takes the fuzzed out ‘90s stadium rock crunch down to a swaying pounding that feels like it should build towards a towering chorus… and does as they intone ‘I bet you’ve got a gun in your pocket’ before the temptation to put their foot down again takes hold , nd they career off down the lost highway in a cloud of dust, sound tracked by histrionic soloing before circling back to the chorus at the end.
After that breathless combo, the hopeful title of Happiness starts off almost indie rock light, despite throwing a few reminders in there that Void Cruiser like it heavy. The almost ballad like low grind of Lassi Tähtinen’s bass roots the influences of this track in the nineties with nods to the Seattle scene and feels like something that would be at home on a release by Lowestoft’s forgotten alt rock heroes Catherine Wheel.
Call Of The Void crunches with a muscular power that dances on fuzz heavy grooves, straddling the chasm between blissed out melody and metal bombast…
Woe follows this up with the terrifying sounding atmosphere of Alice In Chains colliding with vintage Type O Negative. It’s a doomy plod with twisting lead notes that wouldn’t feel out of place on the Roadrunner roster while gracing some schlock horror franchise sequel. Despite that questionable imagery, this track is deceptive in its ability to channel some compelling dark feelings of despair as it descends into almost blackened fury at the conclusion.
Fortunately Sleep Through Winter looks to banish that misery with a buoyant anthemic, rolling chug that smashes back and forth in a call and response vocal and mid-range groove that harks back to their more commercial side of that could have seen them sharing the stage with the likes of Queens of Stone Age or prime Foo Fighters.
Right on que comes the lighters in the air moment (yes lighters, like back before gigs were ruined by a sea of smartphone screens) via the longest entry on the album Wiser Men, a full on slow, mesmerising and epic lyrical and musical waltz before they deliver one of the strongest tracks in Pariah with its urgent pulsing dynamics that give way to a giant sing along moment and classic rock feel.
This review has been littered with dated references that show Void Cruiser have their hearts and souls set twenty years after the classic Sabbath of the ‘70s but the album does in no way feel anachronistic for it. The music comes out of the block sounding fresh and full of vitality, like the band are having the time of their lives and the final pairing of When Gravity Pulls and Infinity come round, it is almost too soon in spite of the amount of music that has gone before.
The former is an impassioned slow burner, Salo’s impressively dexterous range straining with passion, almost roaring with a deep baritone or spitting venom as they writhe through uncomfortable emotion and catharsis, pleading ‘I have to let go’ as Teemu Rantanen thrashes the kit into the ground at the climax.
The latter is an eery, echoey, distorted moment of guitar and vocals, like some radio signal thrown back through time to sign off Call Of The Void like a message from the beyond, a true call of the void if you will, where the focus is on the lyrics and the wistful, introspective delivery.
The hard-hitting Finns keep delivering quality tune after quality tune on their third album, and it feels like way more music than just eight tracks, despite falling just short of the hour mark. I am sure detractors may point out that the band aren’t breaking much new ground and, at times, this album could come across as a homage to an era that encompasses all that I have referenced above. However, this same scene is filled with bands trying to ape eras gone before and Void Cruiser connect with me for the sheer joy in the molten deliver of hard hitting, dynamic alternative heavy music that I want to listen to and sometimes that’s all that you need.
Label: Argonauta Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden