We are just simple folk around these parts, we know what we likes and we likes what we knows. We're suspicious of strangers that occasionally come and go, but we tolerate them, they bring a bit of variety to our simple lives. This one group came in and they were a weird lot, though they never caused any trouble, they would just sit and watch us going about our business and always be there when we partied. Now the music we play round here sounds like a bit of a ruckus and sometimes we would kick up a heap of noise to see if the strangers would leave, never did though. One morning they said they was leaving, thanked us for having them and asked if they could play at our party that night. Sure, we said.
The whole town turned up, we're simple but curious. They brought in their instruments and set them up. Looked kinda strange with them looking all clean cut and us looking so rough. We waited politely, expecting some of that high brow stuff from out east. Well, they just blew our socks off! It was as if the Devil had come up and possessed them. They played what we played onlys they did it real fast and it had this kinda mesmerising effect on us. We sat there slack-jawed until they was done, we sat there as they packed up and we sat there as they left, never to be seen again.
“Cocaine” is a one shot album whereupon VEGA give their comment on Black Metal for once and for all. It is fitting that their one and only ravages and perplexes, leaving you wanting more but making it abundantly clear that this will be your sole experience of them expressing themselves through this genre. The album verges on being a masterpiece, some tracks deserve classic recognition in their own right. I like it.
The first track strikes like a lightning bolt, complete with the residual static. Insane drumming and flesh flaying guitar put up a barrage against which the purely percussive vocal shrieking rages. Don't be fooled into thinking that everything thereafter is as single-minded though, “Insex Infect” continues with the bonkers velocity but threads in fragile melodies that drape themselves like a filigree of mercury over the driving body of music. There is much to be dazzled by, the bass is rich and to the fore with the frets getting worked to the point of combustion. A lot of “Cocaine” is a hyperspeed delight reminding somewhat of OCTINIMOS in construction but VEGA draw on other elements to vary what's served with the soup and that includes the dynamics.
What you can look forward to then is something like “Beton.1” which is an exercise in percussive punishment that is as hard as granite but not enough to prevent the fungal tendrils of BM melody that spread over it. Within short order you are then graced with “Consumed Seclusion” with its progressive lounge lizard beginnings that blossom into a kaleidoscopic milieu before sinking into the dark to dance with leviathans where speed is survival. From RUSH to RAGNORAK in one track, what more do you want.
The musicianship is excellent, expressive without going overboard and the production allows clarity without being clean. This acquaints to each instrument being heard whatever cacophony is retched up by VEGA. The dry shriek from the barrow vocals fits hand in glove with the lightness of the guitar (light but still emphatic,) I am reminded at times of SOLEFALD from “Linear Scaffold” and not always just with the vocals. Every track on this album has its own identity making for compelling listening, oft times mesmerising.
Though one of the band has a grounding in Black Metal, this is the groups only foray into this kind of murk. The literature says they are moving on to express themselves in different ways. They have studied the form and made their contribution, they have managed to entrance the locals and then they've fucked off without so much as a backwards glance. Oh well, we have what they've left behind. After listening to the ghost track, at least they have made it easier to let go.
(Online November 16, 2006)