January 18, 2023

Heavy metal, post-metal, psych-metal, folk-metal, It’s all rock and roll to me – so sang Billy Joel in his 1980 scan of the music industry. Well okay, slightly tweaked!

Vorgrum are a fantasy-metal / pagan-metal group from Argentina, that I suspect Billy might have struggled to get his head around, but actually the four tracks making up this mini-LP Nature Emerge are surprisingly tuneful numbers. The “band” itself is primarily the creation of one Folter Bearhunter, an Argentinian musician/multi-talented guy who wrote, created and played all the parts of the album himself, like he’s done previously, then as I understand it gets a group of friends to join him for live performances. In fact it’s the same routine he/they’ve used on previous albums since 2011 when the debut EP The Awakening was released, which would also take them to their first live shows in their country.

Later, the albums Last Domain (Via Nocturna 2015) and Party in the Deep (Sound Age 2018) were released along the same lines, enabling European tours to take place. In 2022 however, the other members left the band, leaving Folter to continue on his own, releasing the single Ancient Whisper in the summer of that year to a considerably positive reception from fans of the Argentinian Pagan Metal scene.

Although it’s generally a sort of melodic metal with quite catchy instru­mental parts, your main man Folter tells a strong tale of a being who left behind his loved ones, his land, everything that was dear to him. After many battles lived, he feels that he was absent for a long time and has some remorse for leaving those dear people, he is in grief and longs for going back to that place where he was once happy, where he left his heart. He feels that it may be too late to return but even so he tries, will he succeed? Perhaps his soul might return….

With his epic and varied vocals and not-too-dense musical layers, Folter generally outshines many “bards” from oth­er bands, creating a nicely atmospheric ambience. In that regard, Nature Emerge continues where the last single Ancient Whisper left off, a journey of self-improvement allied to knowing one’s place in the natural world. Adept synth work blends surprisingly with Folter’s “semi-goth” style of vocalising, english lyrics certainly help the engagement factor. And for a few completely bizarre seconds at the start of A New Road, I felt transported into a gaelic pub with a squeezebox playing!

All four tracks are musically similar, but I did get caught up in a surprisingly bouncy, up-beat vibe (considering the goth vocalising). It’s certainly one of the more unusual musical combinations you’re likely to come across this year!)

Recording by Vorgrum, Mix and Master by Ramiro Pellizzari

Vorgrum: Time to Return