Lycanthropia Rising – A Review of ‘Immortal Howls… Fullmoon Barks’ by VVerVVulf

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True Underground USBM

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Black metal, as it stands in 2020, is a wonderfully expressive tool. Sadness, beauty, darkness, sophistication, triumph, tragedy – basically any emotion or feeling under the sun and moon can be depicted through the myriad sounds and styles that have come to form under its obsidian wings. Sometimes however, the story it tells is even more intense than usual… which is where we come to VVERVVULF.

The solo project of one Varkolak, this man has been through some serious shit and VVerVVulf (no idea why it’s spelled differently in the logo, don’t ask) is the pure expulsion of that shit in musical form. Primitive, raw, anguished, hate-filled and despairing to the core, both the two demos of lycanthropic madness he’s released thus far are compiled on Immortal Howls… Fullmoon Barks, and they are the sound of a man lashing out at the world in primal rage.

The initial four tracks on the compilation form the first demo Lunar Howls, and for their creation Varkolak found himself homeless on the streets and the entire three knuckles deep into a bottomless pit of drug miasma. You can really hear that in these creations; the desperation, hopelessness and torment of a man already fallen far off the edge and becoming a beast. Rough-hewn, almost crude riffs slash forth from filthy gutters to rip at the throat of life itself, primordial rasps and shrieks pierce the jugular… and it all comes to a head with the titular ‘Lunar Howl’, in which we hear Varkolak raise his head and quite literally howl at the moon, transformed despite his predicament as the power of the night surges through him at full force.

For ‘Immortality’, the second demo, the transformation seems to be complete – not only in the three vicious songs that comprise it but his personal life too, in which he enjoyed a brief period of stability during the recording process before (as he puts it) letting chaos reign in his life once more. As a result these tracks personify that; broken, rawer than even the first demo, yet seething with infinite strength and rabidly hunting anything that dares cross their path.

Without context these demos are solid enough – but once you know the circumstances, passion and intended meaning behind them they take on new life undying. Their flaws become scarred muscle, flexing in the pale crepuscular glow. Perfection? Pfft, Immortal Howls… Fullmoon Barks couldn’t be more the antithesis of perfection if it tried. Black metal needs integrity, and hell, whoever Varkolak is in reality he’s using and creating black metal as it should be: tearing himself open and letting every ounce of negativity, loathing and torment he suffers through in his life roar out in powerful musical form. These demos represent a life transformed but still entrenched in struggle, wretchedness and the darkest pits of the earth. In short – you can feel he means every fucking note he thrashes out on his instruments, every chunk of throat he retches into the void. Pure expression.

Released through fast-rising cult label Elderblood Productions, these songs are now available for the first time on physical format. 80 copies only, be sure to grab one when it drops on April 1st.

Hail the VVerVVulf, may he eternally kill.

Rating: 3.7 / 5

Immortal Howls… Fullmoon Barks releases April 1st via Elderblood Productions. No pre-orders.

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Purchase Immortal Howls… Fullmoon Barks from the Elderblood Productions Bandcamp page HERE or the webstore HERE when available on April 1st. Demos also available in digital form at name-your-price from the VVerVVulf Bandcamp HERE.

Support VVerVVulf:

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