The Voynich Code - Aqua Vitae album review

First time is a charm for progressive Portuguese shredders

Cover art for the Voynich Code - Aqua Vitae album

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Intricate in every sense, Aqua Vitae is an impactful, unbridled first step by these tech-death shredders. Opening with a dulcet piano riff before exploding into a polyrhythmic anarchy that refuses to stop, the album makes no bones about showing off the Lisbon quartet’s technical prowess. Fuelled by skilled compositions, despondent growls and deathcore aggression, Aqua Vitae shines brightest with its guest appearances; renowned screamer Andrew Patterson, August Burns Red’s Joe Luhr and Vitalism’s Ed Garcia all add unique layers to what is already complex metal. Due to its near-ceaseless blend of technicality and abrasiveness, Aqua Vitae is a record that rewards the patient. As it is heard on repeat, it begins to peel away at itself, revealing more sonic secrets with each listen. While it may not have the diversity of fellow prog/death sweethearts like Gojira or early Opeth, The Voynich Code’s first full-length will doubtlessly be a rewarding experience for lovers of the burgeoning subgenre.

Louder’s resident Cult Of Luna obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.