Fear of Fear: Vimur finds truth in the abyss
‘Triumphant Master of Fates’ takes black metal to a grand scale
The cover art for Vimur’s second album, Triumphant Master of Fates features a painting by Portland, Oregon-based artist Adam Burke (of Nightjar Illustration), depicting a mountainous landscape divided by a river of blood. Standing atop a mountain, a lone traveler gazes into a massive black hole that has formed in the sky, radiating beams of light back at the viewer. It’s an arresting image that, like the cover of a 1950s pulp sci-fi novel, captures a climactic moment plucked from an epic journey.
For Vimur, Burke’s painting illustrates a moment of reckoning on a quest to find deep knowledge, a reverence for the expanding cosmos, and a vision of arcane knowledge, imperceptible when viewed through the lens of humankind’s earthbound senses. It’s also an enticing entry point that sets the tone for the Atlanta black metal outfit’s dive into a much older, colder, and infinitely larger universe than the Norse mythology hinted at with 2014’s Traversing the Ethereal Current and 2016’s Exegesis EP.
“The themes on the new album are all about seeking truth regarding the micro, the macro, the inner, the outer, darkness, and light; they’re about totality and all of its many dimensions,” offers the group’s singer, guitar player, and founding member, Vaedis Eosphorus. “In the past, I feel like I was just knocking on the door of concepts rather than fully opening the door and letting them come into me — come through me. I was exploring rather than exuding,” he says.
With Triumphant Master of Fates, Vimur embarks on a journey of self-mastery and personalizing occult concepts. The first two singles released online, “Adversarial Impetus Ignition” and “Consumed by the Source,” juxtapose lightning-fast riffs with glacial movements — simultaneously moving faster and slower than anything Vimur has released before. Triumphant Master of Fates’ melodies are rich and aggressive, as songs such as “Sulphurous Hallucinations Manifest,” “Nuclear Desecration,” and the colossal finale “Supreme Preemption of the Lightless Empire,” sway between moments of sinking despair and radiant fury. Each song amplifies the highest highs and the lowest lows of the group’s spiritual and intellectual quandaries to attain baroque and thrashing sonic grandeur.
This mystical dynamic is incorporated to such an extreme degree that Vimur’s members use pseudonyms as they transcend the limitations of their material identities. Singer Vaedis Eosphorus, bass player Kiehül Hesperos, drummer Ætheøs, and guitarist Australis channel concepts that are greater than what their corporeal forms can comprehend, ideas bigger than anyone’s ego or personality. “It’s like becoming a different entity when we play,” Eosphorus says. “It’s something that’s beyond me as a person, and greater than my mortal form.”
Three years have passed since Vimur released the Exegesis EP — five years since Traversing the Ethereal Current arrived. The band’s members know well the value of taking their time and executing a project to yield maximum impact. Vimur’s label, Boris Records, knows this as well. The label has continued to build its legacy, releasing albums and singles by Atlanta-based metal and thrash acts Misanthropic Aggression, Death of Kings, Malformity, and more. In the meantime, Vimur has continued carefully crafting a fully realized and evolved new chapter in black metal.
“Vimur is unique because of its underlying conceptual framework,” says Boris Records co-owner Scott DePlonty. “Every aesthetic impulse is inspired, and every artistic decision is governed, by that structure. Vimur might very well be the most contemplative artist on the label.”
Triumphant Master of Fates, due out March 1, was written by Eosphorus and Hesperos over a number of years. As Hesperos says: “It’s hard to answer how long directly: There are riffs on the album that are very old, and there are other riffs that were written fairly recently. We probably wrote for about two years leading up to the studio time.”
The album was recorded by Joshua Freemon at Dead Sound Studio in Kennesaw, and mixed and mastered by Dan Klein at Iron Hand Audio in Chicago, bringing about a more full-bodied production to the songs that Eosphorus and Hesperos had devoted so much time to writing.
Triumphant Master of Fates bears the mark of a group that has found itself for the second time by pushing beyond black metal’s signposts to create an album on a Wagnerian scale. It’s an enormous, dramatic reflection of everything the group has done before, yet a wholly new work that draws upon narrative, words, sound, and the undying power of pure music created without a single thought of commercial concerns.
As Hesperos explains, the music’s strength is a natural consequence of their approach. “Even the older material has always been concerned with ideas, and a tidal-wave live experience,” he says.
Likewise, the texture of the record undergoes intense scrutiny during the creative process, resulting in a sound both romantic and sophisticated. “We don’t overlook any details,” Eosphorus says. “We don’t do anything haphazardly, so it’s always a meticulous process. That might set us back,” he adds, “but if you’re going to do something, take your time and do it right.”
The album’s closing number, the nearly 12-minute crest, “Supreme Preemption of the Lightless Empire,” twists and burns with blast beats and out-of-control tempos, relentless in its expansion, as riffs layer upon riffs, and Eosphorus’ unearthly incantations rise and fall over the cacophonous sound.
Like the scene depicted on the album’s cover, ascension into the unknown is achieved. The album is, in fact, a window into the beyond — the sun behind the sun. It’s an idea that’s both welcoming and foreboding, and completely engaging. Vimur is unbound.
“We live in a world where everybody is looking down all the time, and focused on the physical, material world, and everything that’s right in front of them,” Eosphorus says. “We’re concerned with the greatness that lies beyond, rather than mere physicality, and creating music that makes you look up, rather than looking down.”
Vimur plays the Triumphant Master of Fates LP release party at the Earl on Saturday, March 2. With Ectovoid, Encoffination, and Internment. $10-$12. 8:30 p.m. The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com.