Review by Katherine Stewart
“Amidst the rushing screams of Mother Earth; Pounding drums of Ouidah; and the open heart of Erzulie, there exists VODUN. Afro-Metal-Soul-Psych.”
The first thing that strikes you on hitting play on Vodun’s Ascend is that this is a band that makes no apologies. The London-based thrash metal three-piece confidently combines heavy, distorted guitars and tribal drums with Chantal Brown’s impressive lung capacity and adds some lyrical inspiration from West African Vodou to boot.
Ascend is an album jam-packed with the fierce spirituality and feminism that Vodun has made their trademark. It’s present in every track from opener ‘Spirits Past’, with its tight guitar riffs and flawless vocal runs, and title track ‘Ascend’, with its arresting spoken intro and thunderous drum rolls, to the gleeful shouts of ‘Rituals’ and album closer ‘For Your Kin’. The whole album is a genre-defying delight.
It’s worth mentioning that this album is a lot to listen to in one sitting, especially if you’ve come for the soul more than the metal – but, with Ascend, Vodun has created something brilliantly dark and joyous.