Vuyvr’s approach to black metal in their debut album “Eiskalt” varies beautifully from brutal auditory assault to a melodic masterpiece. This Swiss four-piece band is conventional enough for the traditionalists, but it maintains an originality that sets it apart from those that are holding onto 1990s black metal so desperately. There is a definitive atmospheric undertone which adds a prolific touch without overpowering the genre that the band represents overall. Their sound is metallic, cold, and abrasive, but it is certainly not the work of amateurs.

Negativity and bleakness practically ooze from this album, even for the listener who has no idea what is being screamed so hoarsely into the microphone. Guitar parts are distorted and daunting, while the drumming remains furiously heavy-hitting and the bass drives the music forward. The tracks that do not follow this formula are gloomy and nostalgic in nature but they manage to avoid deviating from the general sound of this album. Instead of pursuing an entire change in tone, tracks such as “The Wyvern” and “Dead Trees are Wandering at Night” give the impression of complete isolation.

But, more commonly, the album plays tasteful homage to the ever influential Norwegian black metal scene, though they thankfully refrain from blatant worship of the tell-tale sound. Eiskalt is austere and dark without sounding Scandinavian. Instead, Vuyvr seems to be taking cues from black metal in their homeland of Switzerland by combining haunting undertones with forbidding chaos.

Perhaps one of “Eiskalt’s” highlights is the way that it is so overtly unique. Upon the first listen, it does not seem to be so impressive, but every consecutive one will herald a new aspect that was overlooked by some other part. This is a big part of the album’s appeal, it will not get old but, rather, remain pertinently interesting to its audience. Eiskalt may not be genre-defining, but it is broadening the scope of black metal and improving Switzerland’s scene. Hopefully, Vuyvr does not quit after this one album, because it seems as though they have a lot of potential.

Album highlights: Idolatry, Dead Trees are Wandering at Night, The Wyvern

Track List Line Up
01. Hoch
02. Betrayers of the North
03. War of 100000 Centuries
04. Disfigured by Hatred
05. Idolatry
06. Slaves
07. Dead Trees are Wandering at Night
08. Weapons Made for Grace
09. The Wyvern
D. Almeida
J. Diels
R. Mounir
M. Schindl