Settler has the tough task of attempting to build upon a debut that merged black metal’s furious velocity with star-gazing melody, planet-sized riffs and the kind of punch that could only be delivered by former hardcore musicians – a fact that ruffled spikes among black metal’s elite.
Further ruffling was inspired by the new album’s cover ‘not looking metal enough’, an homage to Challenger astronaut Christa McAuliffe that provides a fitting theme for a record focused upon mankind’s impatient grasp towards the future.
It’s one whose ambition remains unrestrained, upping the band’s feral rapidity to the point that drumbeats blur amid blissful moments of transcendence, only to then change pace and tactic on a knife-edge – if at times a little clumsily, and as on Colony, sometimes all within the space of one song. Heirs perfectly boasts VV’s knack for finely balancing such might, speed and melody, but Settler’s biggest drawback is a reedy, treble-heavy production that serves only to detract from such nuance. Otherwise, this is the thrilling sound of a band gazing longingly upwards at destinations far beyond humanity’s present horizon.