Vhod is a project and one man band created by Chris Shaver, and Dreamcleaver is the debut for his newest band Vhod. Chris has worked independently on bands such as: Godcursed, Morbid Darkness, and Worms of the Birth. When Vhod was first formed it was more of an instrumental band whereas this new release adds vocal elements to the music. Dreamcleaver sports ten songs and the run time is pretty lengthy. To say that this release or this band is just death metal wouldn’t be fair, so with that being said I’ll put experimental in front of death metal because this isn’t just a straight shot of death metal.
Each song seems like an epic with some being a little over three minutes, and the longer songs spanning from five to seven minutes long. The ten songs here come together as a whole and the album never seems to misstep in making any of the songs seem out of place within the album. Everything works together as one cohesive, destructive unit, and to make it even more impressive is the fact that all of the instruments and vocals are done by one man.
The performance that Chris delivers here is solid and on point. No guitar riff wavers, no rhythm is out of place, no bass line is misplaced. Dreamcleaver is a carefully constructed and well oiled death metal machine. Not every song starts off with a sonic blast of death metal however. The song Dragon Sand begins with a thick bass line that melts in with some melodious guitar riffs that continue all the way through until about the four minute mark where the song turns and shifts its focus on sonic riffing and a shredding guitar solo. Obsequies which is the song just before the closer acts almost as an interlude to the final song. At first you hear a dissonant guitar riff which almost is like a solo and is soon accompanied by pounding rhythmic drums which last until the end of the song. As Obsequies fades out the song melts into the closer which is the title track Dreamcleaver.
Each aspect of the album Chris executes very well. There isn’t a song on here that is lacking something, there isn’t any space that is left over. Each minute of this album is packed with ripping and sonic death metal. With each song on here, every riff is played at mach five and embedded in every song is a shredding, string combusting solo. The drums are calculated and on point, ripping and smashing and played with fury. While the drums are impressive as they blast their way into your brain, and while the riffs are hyper and pin point, there is a lethal dose of bass that lines the songs with a thick buzzing. In fact, Dreamcleaver is bass heavy. You can hear it within every song as it does not hide from you, and even if it were trying to hide it doesn’t hide very well. On top of the expert musicianship are the vocals which as I mentioned above are also done by Chris. His vocals are powerful and he growls a pretty sizable roar. His roar isn’t so over powering that you can’t hear the lyrics, but instead it is controlled and suits the music very well.
Dreamcleaver isn’t just a blast that you would feel from a pulse riffle (Sorry, had to work that in at some point in a review). Vhod’s music is equal parts melodic. For every part that is blasting, there is its counterpart which is melodic and graceful. Vhod and the debut album Dreamcleaver shreds. It is a long endeavour, but it is worth it and worthy of a listen. Dreamcleaver bangs heads as well as melts faces, and isn’t that really what metal is all about?
Dreamcleaver comes out on November 13th this year through Inverse Records.