Funeral Doom Friday: VOID TENDRIL Introduce Themselves to the World With Ensnaring the Demiurge
Finally, the weekend is upon us. What better way to kick it off than with the latest installment of "Funeral Doom Friday". For those who are new to this column; each week features a new or classic album from the realm of extreme doom. Much of funeral/death doom's might comes from an oppressive emotional weight and the use of death or black metal motifs (played at a trudging pace, of course.) Pioneers like Mournful Congregation, Evoken, and Esoteric have mastered this blend of dirge and destruction. For 25 years, they have methodically built compositions that stretch for dozens of minutes all while keeping fans enthralled. Time has elapsed since the days of Thergothon and much like the world around us, the genre has evolved. Today's modern bands contort the very construct of the genre, breeding darkly refreshing new work. Their work thankfully gives this column plenty of material to share.
A riveting demo certainly does a band a world of good. It can be a proper introduction and statement of intent. For the UK duo of Void Tendril, Their debut demo does all of this and much more. It is called Ensnaring the Demiurge and brings out some of the best elements of black metal and extreme doom. J.L. and P.H. built Void Tendril out of a shared adoration of classic doom and extreme metal bands. However, their ambition prevents them from crafting something derived from pure mimicry. Instead, they create something very unique and ear-catching.
"Ensnaring the Demiurge is obviously the first Void Tendril release, and we are very proud of it. You are always going to have a certain attachment to the first thing that you do." The band said in a lengthy statement to Metal Injection. "This has a lot of energy to it that comes from acting upon those creative ideas and discovering exactly what you can make of them for the first time. There is also a lot of breathing room and pointers within as to where we can go in future; as this is definitely only the beginning of this project. It is very much the sum of a lot of different influences. Obviously, the foundation comes from classic funeral doom as well as British Peaceville bands like My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost."
Those influences undoubtedly do emerge in their music. Yet, some of those tested methods created by progenitors do not fit into the pair's style. In fact, Void Tendril spoke about this, stating; "There are also certain tropes within funeral doom that we wanted to do away with such as monotonous, forgettable vocals that do not add much to the song. So in some of these other areas, you see some more diverse influences come into play. We think there is a good variety of ideas within these songs but equally nothing tokenistic or forced; instead just formulating very naturally through a love of dark music and a desire to impart something of our own onto it."
Void Tendril stands by their statement. Throughout the demo, the duo employs a variety of different vocal styles. They seem to appear at very distinct points on Ensnaring the Demiurge as well. The odd-numbered tracks lean heavily into commanding black metal. Consequently, "A Crone's Reptilian Eye" and "The Vampiric Embrace of Flame" feature an enraged, throat-splitting yell over fervent riffing and drums. Meanwhile, "Shivering Residue" and "An Hourglass Catacomb" finds Void Tendril blending together blackened moments with morose funeral doom. This is where J.L. and P.H. shine brightest. These juxtapositions of ferocious blasts and melancholia exude a raw brilliance. Their music stretches a little deeper when the lyrics of Ensnaring the Demiurge are considered.
"Lyrically there are a lot of themes of real-world unease and unhappiness which is then sometimes colored by abstract horror. 'The Vampiric Embrace of Flame' is a more direct and angry song. It deals with the recent Grenfell Tower Fire in London and how when we are told "not to politicise tragedies"; it is often just an attempt to skirt blame by those responsible." The band said about their words and story of the demo. "'Shivering Residue' is a personal song about death and grief. 'An Hourglass Catacomb' uses a lot of metaphor to veil its core focus, and 'A Crone's Reptilian Eye' is heavily inspired by the horror film, The Witch. It explores similar themes of liberation and freedom through this horror imagery."
It is an incredibly promising demo from the UK boys. Each track breeds promise for future compositions from Void Tendril. For now, J.L. and P.H. are enjoying the praise of their first effort. They concluded by stating, "We are very happy to have this release out there and we hope that some people other than ourselves can get something out of it."
Listen to Ensnaring the Demiurge below and follow the band on Facebook. Physical editions of the demo are on the horizon as well, so make sure to keep up with Void Tendril to be sure to get a copy.