Our Verdict: 8/10
Release date: 25th March
Find it at: Riff Rock Records
Review by: Graeme Blackwell
Trailblazing, highly original heavy psych-rock from former Do Me Bad Things vocalist’s new outfit.
There are many things that are intrinsically brilliant about Do Me Bad Things alumna Chantal Brown’s new band VŌDŪN and their voodoo-fuelled, afro-tinged trip of a debut album, Possession. Not least of these is the band’s spectacular retooling of the heavy metal, rock and psychedelic sounds that are, of course, so deeply indebted to music that originated on the African continent, taking it – as VŌDŪN do – and re-claiming and re-making it in a new mold that is not only sonically exciting, but conceptually cohesive and, yes, educational too.
A self-described afro-futuristic tribe who conceive of themselves as three central forces rather than individuals, VŌDŪN are Oya (vocals), Ogoun (drums) and Marassa (guitar), and they make a glorious, raucous heavy noise that draws its power from the ideas practised in the West African spiritual religion of Vodun, from where it became known as Voodoo as it grew beyond the African diaspora.
In its thundering tribal drums, colossal fuzzed-up bass and planet-sized riffs, Possession touches on feminist themes, the Catholic Church’s crusade against Haitian spiritual practices, the Franco-Dahomean war of 1890 and the quest for total, metaphysical transcendence. The fact that it does so against a backdrop of trailblazing, highly original, fierce and enlightened rock n’ roll simply makes it all the more special.
From the galloping thunder of “Mawu”, through the extended breakdowns of “Legbas Feast” and on through the extremities of the title-track, ultimately the sound of Possession is one of ultra-heavy, psych-infused stoner rock brewed with intellect, passion and purpose, and mixed with elemental forces that have previously been diluted and drained of their power across centuries of history.
As Oya herself explains: “The music is made to represent how we see VŌDŪN and understand its beautiful, complicated and powerful history… The movement of the music is us bearing our souls, reflecting how something that has been demonised for so long can actually be something to wholly embrace.”
Mission vividly accomplished.
VŌDŪN will head out on a co-headline tour of the UK with Limb in April, playing the following dates:
Apr 1st: Sheffield, The Washington
Apr 2nd: Manchester, Rebellion (Noiz Alldayer)
Apr 3rd: Milton Keynes, Craufurd Arms
Apr 6th: Coventry, The Arches
Apr 7th: London, The Lexington (Vodun Album launch gig)
Apr 8th: Bristol, Stag & Hounds
Apr 9th: Oxford, The Wheatsheaf