Vitne - Jupiter - (9/10)
Published on June 18, 2017
Genre:Melodic Rock / Pop
More Charm Than Harm
Vitne is the moniker of a one-man melodic rock project based in Norway. Both he and his sidekick, guitarist Julian Angel, are onto their second full-length album Jupiter. Having been swamped by extreme metal for the majority of 2017, this was a welcome change of pace and atmosphere, not being labelled as a metal release at all. It’s important not to approach this record with the ‘metal’ tag in mind, as the composer himself categorizes it as melodic rock with heavy Japanese influences. That’s not far off the mark, but to the layman, Jupiter is a collection of infectious rock songs swathed in charm – while simultaneously being a half-hour journey of varying emotions.
This whole affair is lavished with a haunting, almost sorrowful, atmosphere enhanced by the instrumentation. Vitne’s website claims his music ‘is often uniquely infused with flute’, and whilst this is a stretch (the flute only appears two or three times throughout the album), when the flute does make an appearance – it’s alarmingly wonderful, and definitely ‘unique’ as he says. The bass guitar is another central presence due to its bulky tone which beefs up tracks like “Masquerade” (probably the most metal portion of the record). Along with these, the ethereal keyboards and anchoring percussion loops all add up to the sound of an album that bears resemblance to no other album. The guitar tone may be thin, but when allowed to fly off the handle for a brief solo, Julian Angel’s virtuoso ability is seriously impressive.
What I admire most is how sincere Vitne comes across. Nothing here is over-produced or polished, and his inherent musicianship consequently shines through proudly. Vocally, too, his natural tone is effortlessly emitted with no faux-vibrato or try-hard lyrical clichés; just the soothing, silky voice of a guy in command of his music. This is no more prevalent than on the unspeakably gorgeous ballad “Under The Moonlight”. So tender is the mood here, guitar strings audibly echo and even breaths between lines are clearly heard – beautifully delicate. A similar vibe is harnessed in “So Far Away”, but here he exercises his tremendous songwriting ability with a progressive tinge – and the closing piano flair is a touch of artistry.
The album is brilliantly structured. Intro “Mirrors” and fifth-track interlude “Are You Real?” do come across as superfluous, but they’re only fifty seconds each so either skip or tolerate! Otherwise, the LP is a voyage from the driving velocity of the first few tracks, through the luxurious serenity of the middle section, to the dramatic but appropriate finale of “Say Goodbye”. With so many dips and peaks, the replay value is enormous, and Vitne’s penchant for melancholic-yet-victorious melodies (such as the glorious title-track) will have you returning to Jupiter again and again. Captivating, enchanting, memorable, but most importantly earnest and real – this is the surprise 2017 needed to give me, and a serious contender for my album of the month.