The sophomore album from Toronto folk-doomsters Volur is nothing if not an ambitious effort. Though it only contains four tracks, it clocks in at over 53 minutes, with some songs stretching over 15. And while the lyrics are not clearly discernible, I do detect a theme here—each song title begins with “Breaker.”
We start off with “Breaker of Silence,” a 17-minute epic that begins in drone territory, before settling into a mellow, yet doomy pace. The distinguishing feature of this band is they use violin as a lead instrument—and it certainly features prominently here, sometimes slathered in distortion, although there are more than a few sombre, bass-driven passages throughout the extended runtime. This song is not entirely instrumental, but when vocals first come in they’re buried in the mix and delivered in a black-metal style (they switch to clean singing past the 10-minute mark). Speaking of which, Holy Blast Beats, Batman! The 90-second passage that kicks off around the four-minute mark is about as grimm, kvlt and nekro as they come…
The 10-minute “Breaker of Oaths” opens with a sombre violin passage. We then get some whispering in a foreign tongue, before a banging, clanging bass line begins around the two-minute mark ahead of a proper descent into fiddle-driven doom-metal territory. This time the vocals come in clean, although they’re mostly limited to chanting, interspersed throughout, including a male-female vocal solo around the eight-minute mark that’s really, really eerie. The last two minutes include heavy, sludge-style vocals and even heavier drumming alongside some creepy-crawling bass and violin lines. This one’s a real headtrip!
“Breaker of Silence” actually begins with chanting—a whole three minutes worth, before a gloomy bass/drum pattern takes form around the 3:30 mark. (This one’s another 15-minute epic.) This one reminds a little of more recent OM, if you replaced that weird guy with the crazy vocals with a violinist/female backing singer… actually, that would probably be an improvement.
“Breaker of Skulls” has the most menacing title, and arguably the doomiest opening, befitting of said moniker. The vicious vocal only adds to the proceeding, while the violin nearly mimics a Theremin on a wildly wonderful piece of riffage. But there are still a few mellow passages on this one, including a cymbal-heavy one that begins about four minutes in. Actually, the back half of this 10-minute tune is a lot more relaxed, ending things on somewhat of an uplifting note, in spite of the bilious vocals that make their return around the 7:30 mark.
Suffice to say the Toronto scene has never heard anything like this before.