Canada's doom mystics Völur invite you to their death cult

Völur press pic 2020, by Whitney South
(Image credit: Whitney South)

Canada’s Völur might not be the first doom band to use strings to get an extra-resonant sense of loss and lamentation, but ever since their 2016 debut album, Disir, they have been unique in using them as a wholesale replacement for a guitar.

Part wistful folk, part crushing, downtuned chroniclers of the world’s ills, the three-piece have rather a lot of material to work with on their forthcoming third album, Death Cult, due out on Prophecy Productions on November 13.

Taking as its main source of inspiration, not the ruling administration of their neighbours down south, but the ritual sacrificial practice of drowning slaves at sea, conducted by the Roman-era Baltic Germanic tribes, Death Cult, is a metaphor for political futility and the general capacity for laying waste to the natural world.

Vast in scope, mesmerising in its drawn-out, woozy dynamics, and ultimately galvanising in its simmering then surfacing rage, Death Cult is doom like you’ve never heard it before, and they’re offering up one of its four lengthy tracks in the form of an atmospheric video for the immersive eight-and-a-half-minute pilgrimage across the wastelands that is Inviolate Groove.

Featuring live performance with beautifully shot images of esoteric rituals performed with scythes, Inviolate Groove both reveals the intense chemistry within the band and the ancient pastoral powers they draw from.

“This is the first single, taken from our forthcoming album," says frontman Lucas Gadke. "We made the video in collaboration with Sarah Legault, who supplied us with some dark and mysterious footage and Tim O’Reilly. This track, like the other three songs on Death Cult, is a variation on a theme, which is inspired by a Germanic ritual that the Roman author Tacitus described. Imagine entering a circle of trees. A priest approaches a veiled idol. The full moon rises, and the priest leads the idol to the water. In the video we see a living idol and the priest, in a different time yet still the same.”

Inviolate Groove is a dislocating experience, but one that offers an awareness of other continuities beyond our barely comprehensible present.

Visit the Völur Facebook page and pre-order Death Cult from the Prophecy Productions webstore.

Jonathan Selzer

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.