Vaura is hard to place. Comprised of members of Religious to Damn, Gorguts, Dysrhythmia, Kayo Dot and Maudlin of the Well, this Brooklyn-based band has an eclectic sound, pulling from elements of various genres and influences. The band’s debut album, Selenelion, certainly doesn’t sound like a debut album, as these four guys’ musical talent shines throughout.
I’ll admit that the first time I listened to Selenelion, I didn’t particularly care for it. It wasn’t because it was bad — there’s immediate recognition of the artistic alue here — but because of the harsh, distorted vocals. The more listens through, however, the more I began to appreciate it. Looking past the distortion and really listening to the melody, I realized that Selenelion is beautifully composed. It contains elements of both metal and classical music, seamlessly intertwined.
Probably the best way to describe Vaura’s sound is ambient doom metal (this Mastodon or Red Fang). It’s melodic and psychedelic, and the band’s sound is very similar to that of the Ocean. At their heaviest, the guys of Vaura sound similar to Kylesa, but the instrumental parts sound more closer to Maserati. Throughout the album they layer sounds, one on top of another, creating a distinct rising action that culminates to the climax and resolution of songs like “Obsidian Damascene Sun.” At the same time, though, some of the lighter instrumentals are soothing to the point of being hypnotic, such as on the title track.
The fact that I had to actively listen to the album more than once to truly appreciate it gives it that much more value. The vocals even began to grow on me at the very end of the album in “The Zahir” when Josh Strawn sings without the distortion. Metal fans will definitely dig Selenelion — as will any appreciative listener if they give it a fair shot.