Zac Pliska and Emily Sturm make up the band known as VAZUM. Their music has been described as deathrock with shoegaze or deathgaze but on the latest album, there has been a paradigm shift. They released the new album titled Unrated V on October 22nd and the theme throughout seems to be the creatures and humans that inhabit the inky night and demonic spaces.
From the beginning, you can hear that his is going to be a different VAZUM album, a more industrial electro sound is creeping in and the “Jester” is a genuinely verbose and grandiose example. The nine minute epic will wind you up in it’s synth laden tentacles, enthralling you. The single “Lycanthrope” very much features Sturm’s vocals in this tale of werewolves and the animals men become. The chorus is a beautiful swirling gothic affair and speaking of gothic, vampires come hand in hand with the genre. “Vampyre” is probably a far more truthful examination of the blood suckers world, where everyone is just a food source to them. A nice heavy mood that smothers us in the dank blood-lust.
Everyone needs a woman pieced together from other’s dead flesh so they can have a “Frankenstein Gurl” though she will more than likely kill you in the end and this tune is a stonking representation with it’s scintillating synths and uncompromising rhythm. The tone turns a bit stalkerish as we join the “Vampire Killer” on his quest to remove the parasites that plaque human kind. There is great purpose to the music and Pliska cannot be swayed by Sturm’s sensual words of ownership and death. The synths waver and Latin is invoked for this is the “Wytch Lych“. The track gives the impression of impending doom if you are not found worthy of the witch’s time and it is a fabulously powerful piece.
For the rest of the album, it delves into a more instrumental and experimental vein. “Fantoms” is full of bells tolling, dark bass tone and creeping synths like something you would find in a Hammer Horror movie as Christopher Lee searches for his next victim. The far more electronic “Wytch Tech“, with Sturm’s sighed vocals could be a modern summoning ritual putting you into a techno trance. Following up is “Summon Her” where there are industrial clanks and screeching, near metallic sounds. You can imagine a thick fog where disturbing not quite human voices can be heard.
There has been folklore tied to the Gypsy people that they have unnatural powers and you will have to make up your mind as you listen to the trap like “Romany Way“. I remember a dark, British children’s television show I watched as a child, where there was an old grandfather clock that would strike thirteen at night and everything would go back to a past life. “Thirteenth Hour” reminded me of this with it’s mysterious wending synths. Your final track is “The Abyss“, a place that is unfathomable and permeates the mind with dread at what lays within, the unknown and music gives it a science fiction overdrive.
Some bands go on and they often lose what drew you to them or the quality just cannot be maintained. VAZUM just seems to be going from strength to strength. They remind me of the wonderful Faith And The Muse except they have a dark gritty core mixing industrial into their music which is making them a hybrid beast of much beauty.