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Vouna Cascades Onto the Scene with Their Self-Titled Debut

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This year’s incredible Eigenlicht release apparently wasn’t enough for guitarist Yianna Bekris: her project Vouna (in which she serves as primary composer and multi-instrumentalist) showcases a blossiming, full range of promising heavy metal talent. Through a doomy, Cascadian lens, and with the support of Wolves in the Throne Room’s house label, the project’s eponymous debut is set to dawn upon the bleak shores of an overworn subgenre, bringing promise to ears which ache for truly heartfelt expressions (versus mere representations) from the Pacific Northwest. Check out what she has to offer with an exclusive full stream of Vouna below.

Beauty, in the traditional basking-at-nature sense, works well as a concept to describe Vouna as a whole: carried on the smooth wavelengths of Bekris’s voice, listeners are immediately transported to more ephemeral headspaces. Yet this type of beauty doesn’t fully encompass the darkness and raw sadness imbued into this microcosmic sprawl of an album. The tremolo-picked guitars, fuzzy distortion, and dense layering all play their respective roles, musically, but the combination’s sum exceeds its constituencies. What’s present is a human yearning which, in the hands of a less apt musician/artist, ends up masked by outright aggression or simply obliterated by trying too hard. Here, Bekris is nearly effortless, but downright sincere.

“Drowning City,” the album’s first single and penultimate track, is the one to listen to, with its tour-de-force nature and monstrous climax; that said, Vouna is best enjoyed front-to-back as its storyline is woven in gradual shifts of intensities and abstract sounds. One fair criticism to leverage against this album is that, for its thematic reach and dramatic potential (much of which it does fully actualize), its pithy runtime might leave some wanting more. Then again, album closer “You Took Me” seems to delight in its ability to offer such resolute satisfaction through such joyous devastation, carried away on what has to be one of the most powerful voices in metal today.

Vouna releases Friday via Artemisia Records. Follow the band on Facebook here.

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