Vipsassi were not a band I had heard anything about before receiving this promo, so before listening I had no idea what to expect. The album cover doesn't give away too much apart from the geometrical patterns hinting that this is unlikely to be simplistic or brutal but rather quite intellectually stimulating.
Not long after pressing play, it is clear that this is not a straightforward record archetypical of any genre. This album is (almost) entirely instrumental, technical, complex, chaotic and challenging. This album twists and turns like an Anaconda having a seizure. Complicated guitar scales are the name of the game here, paired with unpredictable drum patterns and almost constant changes of rhythm and pace. If there's one word that could sum up this album, it's “progressive”. The tracks here are not particularly long at an average of around four minutes, and each seems to progress seamlessly into the next, fusing this album into more of a singular entity than a simple collection of “songs”. This is an album to get lost in thought to. The musicianship on display here is of a very high quality, and each moment of this record is technically accomplished. This isn't casual listening, this is high-brow progressive metal, demanding attention and refusing to give away its secrets easily.
Picking stand-out tracks from this album is not easy given its nature - the quality is consistently high throughout. Whether it's the beautifully soaring guitars of “Elpis” paired with the juxtaposition of low, growled vocal patters and higher, sweeping female vocal melodies, or the chilled-out minimalism of “Paradise”, there is plenty on offer here to tantalise your ears, although this record may take repeat listens to really get to grips with and get the most out of it. Given the technical mastery and accomplished songwriting here, it's well deserving of your time and attention. Anyone who appreciates progressive music should enjoy this record. For me personally, it reminded me in many ways of Ihsahn's latest release, which really is no bad thing considering the standard of that record.
Vipsassi have created a wonderful little slice of progressive, experimental metal here, and although both the songs and the album itself are both short, they're definitely sweet to boot, so give this a go and let them take you on a music journey into thought and space. I look forward to seeing what this band create next.
Sunyata is available January 20th through Season Of Mist records