Dvne - Voidkind

Artist: Dvne

Album Title: Voidkind

Label: Metal Blade Records

Date of Release: 19 April 2024

For post-metal to register high on my radar, it has to be at the absolute pinnacle of the genre. Either that, or it has to really push my buttons to the point where I simply cannot ignore it. This could be via strong melodic sensibilities, fantastic songwriting, a strong storyline or lyrical content, or the production. In reality, it’s going to be a blend of these facets rather than just one in isolation. However, it’s got to be special.

Although I had my misgivings, I eventually warmed to ‘Etemen Ænka’, the sophomore release from Scottish post-metal band Dvne. It was, and still is, way too long, but within it, there was enough to keep me impressed, much of it growing on me the more I listened. At the time, I thought that I’d listen to it a lot more throughout 2021 and beyond, but that’s not turned out to be the case. In fact, until I got wind of a follow-up, I’d pretty much forgotten about it, to be honest.

That said, with a steadily increasing buzz in metal circles, along with a press release packed with quotes from the band about making music that was more immediate and concise, I felt obligated to have a listen to album number three, ‘Voidkind’. Having no affinity with the ‘Dune’ novel, the films, or anything to do with the fictional world of Arrakis, the lyrical ideas once again largely pass me by, leaving just the music to hopefully deliver the kind of impact that would keep me hooked and a slave to repeated listens.

Much like with ‘Etemen Ænka’, ‘Voidkind’ was not an album that set out of the traps like a greyhound to knock me instantly sideways. To be honest, the first few spins of the album were something of a grind for me but, driven by a desire to write a fair review, I soldiered on. Eventually, I heard some glimmers, which then turned into something much brighter, finally culminating in a generally rather positive glow of appreciation which I now have for this record overall.

It’s not all positive, because I do find that the album goes through a few peaks and troughs in terms of my enjoyment, as well as musically and thematically. Plus, I’ve never been a fan of this type of production, where the drums sound a little hollow and echoey as they do here. It all has to do with that sludgy, live feel that Dvne are no doubt seeking, but it feels a little more obvious than with their previous record. Then there are the vocals which are shared amongst primary vocalist Daniel Barter, as well as guitarist/keyboardist Victor Vicart and keyboardist/vocalist Maxime Keller. When the growls are deeper and gravellier, they are great. Equally, when a clean delivery is unleashed, I’m a fan. But the higher-pitched gruff vocals and screams tend to grate a little on me if I’m perfectly truthful.

Dvne - Voidkind
Credit: Alan Swan

Ok, so it’s not perfect in my opinion for the reasons that I have outlined. However, I do want to now focus on the positive aspects of ‘Voidkind’ and the compositions that I most enjoy. For me, there’s nowhere else to start but with ‘Eleonora’ because it’s probably my favourite track on the album. Ironically, it’s also one of the longer songs at over eight minutes. However, it starts off well with a spritely guitar melody and builds slowly, beginning with clean vocals and an interesting drumbeat. The heavier guitars continue the melody when they arrive, but with more groove and bite, accompanied by the gruff vocals, albeit the ones I like the least it must be said. Nevertheless, the increasing urgency that carries the track meaningfully to the halfway point where the magic really begins. The minimalist ambience that ceases the heaviness in its tracks signals a rebuild, but one that’s much more melodic, memorable, and epic sounding. If more of the album followed this direction, my review would be much different, I can tell you.

‘Reaching For Telos’, which immediately follows is also a very fine composition. Shorter, punchier, and with an early Mastodon vibe in places, it nevertheless offers some more delicious melodies, predominantly within the mid-song quieter passage that then continues within the ensuing heavier riffs.

Tracks like ‘Reliquary’ and ‘Sarmatæ’ do much less for me despite trying hard to find a spark or hook upon which to rely and ensure repeat returns. In the case of the former, it’s the more metalcore-like screams that are difficult to warm to, even if the brittle minimalist section later in the piece does carry some genuine emotion. The latter just lacks anything out of the ordinary as far as I’m concerned and passes by without incident.

The instrumental interlude of ‘Path Of Ether’, though, may only last for 90 seconds, but the cinematic ambience is oddly captivating and atmospheric. Then there’s ‘Plērōma’ which I find very satisfying. It begins with a moody and dark-sounding intro, which continues into the main body of the song, the clean vocals striking a real chord with me along side some much stronger and more pronounced melody, making it one of the most instant tracks on the album. But it’s the huge wall-of-sound guitar and bass notes towards the end that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, injecting real drama and power into the song. Again, I ask, ‘why couldn’t more of the album been like this?’

And that’s my conclusion for ‘Voidkind’ right there – why couldn’t the album have been more consistently like ‘Eleonora’, ‘Reaching For Telos’ or ‘Plērōma’? I guess if it was, then the essence of Dvne would be compromised and they’d not be the band that they indeed are. I know many people who will lap this up, every last second and every last note of it. I have no doubt that ‘Voidkind’ will feature in many year-end ‘best-of’ lists. But, as I said at the beginning, for this kind of sludgy post-metal music to grab me, it has to be really special. And, whilst some of the compositions are incredibly strong and worthy of praise, I find the album as a whole to fall a little short overall. But hey, that’s just me – and what do I know eh?!

The Score of Much Metal: 82%



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