Vattnet is a bold reinvention and reintroduction for the group formerly known as Vattnet Viskar. Previously a fantastic post-black metal band whose hallmarks included ethereal yet melancholy soundscapes, the New Hampshire-based collective lost one of its founding members and have regrouped half the band name but more powerful than before. What’s fascinating is how, for all the huffing over the pretty stark sonic shift, the soul of what made Vattnet Viskar so great is still found in Vattnet. Gone is almost any trace of black metal (some blast beats remain in “Sugar”, but it’s a very bright tune), and the vocals have been taken over by bassist Casey Aylward (who also spends time in Astronoid, a fair comparison to Vattnet, actually). Aylward’s tenor sounds a good bit like Anthony Green, which pairs really well with the ethereal, melancholy, and contemplative musical mix that this new band employs.
The style is a sort of progressive and dreamy post-hardcore with some doom and thrash influences thrown in. It sounds like if Thrice and Deftones embraced a more progressive metal approach. The hazy and beautiful atmosphere contrasts well with the dark lyrical content (I love when bright music plays up against the melancholy). In many ways, guitarist Chris Alfieri steals the show, as his dexterous string work bolsters Vattnet’s multifaceted musical approach. This is a sneakily doom-centric album, and his leads and solos are magnificent.
If I have a bone to pick, it’s that the album ends more with a whimper than a bang. “Chains” and “Time Will Prove Everything” are masterful, showcasing Vattnet’s heavy riffs and progressive songwriting equally. However, “Funeral” should have been left on the cutting room floor, as it is lackluster in comparison to everything else on the record. Other than that, Vattnet’s unexpected rebirth has resulted in a band who stands every bit the equal to its past incarnation, and if you are willing to go along for the ride, I’d say Vattnet is the best thing these guys have done, no matter what name is behind them.