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Vukovar – The Great Immurement

by François Zappa

In Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat, the wailing sounds uttered by the feline that names the tale help the police capture the main character of the story who has murdered his wife and hidden her body behind a wall. This form of imprisonment, known as immurement, can be found in others tales of the popular Romantic writer such as Berenice, The fall of the House of Usher or The Cask of Amontillado but today we are talking about it because of the last album from unclassifiable English act Vukovar, The Great Immurement. This new work is the second part of a trilogy that started last year with The Colossalist and it’s dedicated to the late Simon Morris, collaborator of the band that sadly passed away a couple of years ago.

The album starts with “Your Icarus,” a beautiful and moving synth pop track. For a moment, the voice makes me think in Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis. The song is dreamy and a bit epic at the same time. The record continues with the two parts of “The Solar Anus Pt1,” a bit more pop and definitely happier but as usual in Vukovar’s tracks, the different layer of sound makes it something completely unique. The second part has a harder sound compensated with some angelic voices and a better melody. The keyboard notes of “Psalm 142” seems to be counting the hours, the ones we have before dying. It’s the most sorrowful track of the album, with an impressive vocal interpretation that hovers over an unnerving background. Next is the first single of the album, “When Rome Falls,” where punk aggressiveness and a industrial vibe meet. I wish that every single in the world were like this. Next track, “The Immortal Hour” has a heavy rhythm and some distorted voices that create another disturbing piece.

“Sculpt the Sculptor,” starts as a stunning otherworldly song with a feminine contribution but soon the voices start interviewing, the sound becomes weird and some heavy and frightening drums come along. Instead “O Eden” is more conventional and keeps the martial rhythm of the previous song. “The Nurses” is another sound piece with spectral voices, an insistent voice sample and repetitive keyboards. The name of the following track, “Cement & Cerement” can be linked to the title of the album and it’s a powerful electronic song with a melody easy to remember. The album finishes with the 12 minutes of “The Great Immured And His Sea Of Love” divided in two parts, the first a more conventional song and the second created from some conversations about Simon Morris.

Vukovar is the only band that sounds as personal and as the same time as disturbing as Coil, with every new album surprising us. Again, this album succeeds in the difficult task of mixing some more conventional songs and melodies with the unique sonic treatment of the band, with their facility to create disturbing atmospheres in just a synth pop track. The Great Immurement can be only a last goodbye, but farewells rarely have touched us that much. 

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