If there is such a thing as controlled bedlam then Ignotum from The Voynich Code is a thrilling example. It is a maelstrom of sounds and ideas delivered with an energy and imagination which swiftly has ears, thoughts, and passions recruited to the cause. The six-track release is the debut album from the Portuguese metallers who just formed last year, an immediate attention seeking and grabbing introduction to the talent of the exciting young Lisbon hailing quintet. There is a certain familiarity to the release it is fair to say, one bringing thoughts of other exponents of the fascinating sounds the band conjures, but more so an even greater freshness and potential suggesting the band will be and is forging their own imposing identity with their fusion of deathcore and technical/progressive metal with a healthy dose of grind and groove tenacity. It is a gem of a debut and one truly mouth-watering entrance by The Voynich Code.
It took band and album mere seconds to have these ears and imagination hooked as opener Antithesis, to a brewing haunting ambience, adds almost oriental like pokes of melodic discord. It is an immediately intriguing lure to which guitars add their similarly tempting touches before it all explodes in one intensive examination of the senses. Rich dark hearted vocal roars from Nelson Rebelo soon stamp their imposing authority on the now tempestuous body of the track, though that initial melodic bait is still using its seduction to fine effect. The guitars of Vinnie Mallet and André Afonso weave a magnetic net of carnivorous riffs and sonic imagination, gnawing and romancing ears over a tantalising percussive dance from drummer Nuno Cordeiro, a revelry and enterprise matching the provocative expression of keys and melodies. Twists clasp the storm of sound and inescapable malevolence grows in the vocal squalls, but it is the fluid and masterful mix of flavours and thick essences of varied genres which truly ignite thoughts and emotions, and a rather tasty bestial throat to the bass of Miguel Pires.
The following Amunet, The Decider instantly thrusts its creative jaws on the by now raw senses. An initial tide of covetous riffs and barbarous rhythms are soon veined by a similar melodic colouring to that which lit up its predecessor, as well as new variety to the vocal attack, guttural and swinish growls adding to the resourceful textures and fascination of the track. Maybe not quite as dramatically striking as the first but matching it in invention and riveting temptation, the track keeps the intensity boiling and greed for more growing, a hunger straight away fed by the outstanding voracity and mystique of The Others. Embracing an India bred melodic adventure within a groove infested swing of predacious incitement, the song flirts and savages with equal potency and simultaneous success. It is a transfixing and invigoratingly radiant abuse of a merger; imagine Veil of Maya, Mesuggah, The Faceless, and Scar Symmetry embroiled in a tempest spiced with some Korn and you get a feel of the third treat on Ignotum.
The industrial teased gentle provocative caress of instrumental MS408 allows a breath to be swallowed before Decoding of Life dishes out its own tapestry of viciously staggered riffs, rhythmic hostility, and a seriously contagious and enthralling technical swagger. This of course is all coated in vocal rancor and melodic enterprise. Those worldly spices of sound and imagination are never far from the landscape of any show, another Motherjane like seducing adding to the blistering turbulence.
Another tremendous peak and creative emprise within Ignotum makes way for yet one more, final track Acta Sancti bringing the album to an exhilarating close. Its respectful and eventful start is soon blustering with vocal rapacity and rhythmic rabidity, a ravaging matched by corrosive riffs and raw intensity. The opening smile of melodic charm will not go away though and immerses itself loudly in the caustic soundscape, sparking body and mind within every unpredictable step.
Ignotum is an exceptional introduction to The Voynich Code, an album which even as fingers tap out these words continues to seduce and impress further. Some parts will remind of more recognisable bands, artists the five-piece will soon be standing alongside in stature as they grow from this striking start it is easy to suspect and expect, but simply it is one of the most enjoyable and exciting extreme adventures to come along in recent times.
The self-released Ignotum is available from January 30th @ http://thevoynichcode.bandcamp.com/
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