Sunday, December 27, 2020

EP Review: Vazum "Vazumnacht" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: Vazum
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Country: USA
Genre: Deathgaze
EP: Vazumnacht
Format: Digital
Label: Independent
Release date: December 4, 2020
Just in time for the holidays, Vazum reinterprets three traditional Christmas hymns paying homage to the other side. Recorded shortly after the release of their Halloween album “Rated V”, “Vazumnacht” retells holiday tradition, presenting cheer that fans of dark music can easily understand and appreciate. If radio holiday fare doesn’t warm your heart, this may be for you.
According to Austrian and Bavarian folklore, Krampus was not a personification of evil but an assistant to Saint Nicholas. Krampus is said to have terrorized misbehaving children during the Christmas season. Dating before Christianity and often mistaken for the Christian devil, the legend was suppressed by conservative, far-right and fascist political parties in Austria. Recently, however, it’s been revived in Europe and becoming part of popular culture in America and Canada.
My search for untried music drawing from forgotten pasts and filling the void of assembly-line pop is ever ongoing. Again I find it as Vazum takes inspiration from a suppressed legend. No one dimensional, saccharine-sweet holiday cheer, but driving malevolence that’s multilayered, catchy and uplifting in its own way. Darkening holiday tradition with tales of witches, demons, and hellhounds, Vazum presents us with an innovational synthesis of goth rock, deathrock, post-punk, and industrial/dance.
For an EP recorded in the band’s home studio, “Vazumnacht” boasts production fitting of any goth club in New York or Los Angeles. While the EP is limited to three songs, this is more than enough to provide the cold winter with hell’s warmth. Reinterpreting “Carol of the Bells,” “O Holy Night” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” Vazum personify dark menace with an aggressive, primal percussive sound, inharmonious guitars, creaking vocals somewhat likened to Marilyn Manson and nefariously sewraphic female vocals illuminating the surrounding darkness similarly to Patricia Morrison of Sisters of Mercy.
Vazum shot a promotional video for “Vazumnacht” to coincide with the release of this EP. With some similarities to the cover art of the first Black Sabbath album, the video was filmed at an isolated location in Ann Arbor, Michigan they discovered by chance while taking a drive in the area. The video can be viewed below and at Vazum’s Youtube profile. –Dave Wolff

Zach Pliska: Vocals, guitar, keyboards, drums
Emily Sturm: Vocals, bass

Track list:
1. Carol of the Witch
2. Unholy Nite
3. Bark the Hellhounds

February 1 updates: Vazunm's promotional video of "Unholy Nite" is now streaming at Youtube.
Read Dave Wolff's interview with Zach of Vazum here

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