Written by: AP on 18/06/2009 13:43:48

You may recall that we nominated Vira's last EP, "Recurrence", as one of the most important releases of 2008, not because it was one of the best, but because it held unparalleled potential in a struggling and repressed scene called Danish metal. It averted the disaster of most Danish bands which have a tendency to sound exactly the same in their respective genres and marked Vira as a band to keep an eye on and a band with genuine international potential (which is why it still bothers me that no label has signed these guys yet). As such, "Re-Design" is an even more ambitious effort and although it never quite manages to reproduce the raw energy of "Recurrence" (which probably owes in part to this one being more premeditated and thought through, whereas the grandeur of "Recurrence" came from improvisation), it is the logical next step and a damn fine one at that.

Instead of the relentless chugging and discordant intensity of "Recurrence", "Re-Design" makes more daring leaps into the unknown. Don't get me wrong, the sound is still very much Vira's own, but there is a greater emphasis on melodies now and I suspect it's here that the crowds divide. On the one hand the dissonant, polyrhythmic chaos of "Recurrence" was what earned the band respect in the first place, but as you may recall, some of the experimentation had a tendency to sound a little too forced and, well, experimental for the band's own good. The shifts in tempo were too sudden at times and particularly the breakdown-laden moshmania of "Escape" was a bit too much to swallow. Vira has done right in sweeping such overindulgences under the carpet and replacing them with harmonious, progressive song structures which, like those of Misery Signals, alternate between ethereal clean/ringing melodies and relentless powerchords driven by discord. Breakdowns are a few in between but what else can you expect from a metal band these days? It's pretty much standard operating procedure now and at least here there is no harm done.

In terms of song-writing, as you might already have picked up on, huge leaps of progress have been made and everything just sounds polished and complete. Well, save for the inexplicable decision to throw one minute of out-of-place chugging in the last minute of the title track. Seriously, the song actually ends and then this stuff comes in from nowhere and fades out again, and it's not the kind of outro that will turn heads as was the case with "Half Awake" from the previous disc; no, it's just chugging and so unnecessary that it's impossible to ignore. Now, let's backtrack: the songs are written to such perfection that most international metal bands should be ashamed of their own compromises. But even so, "Re-Design" lacks the kind of "ooh aah" moment that "Half Awake" brought to "Recurrence" and while there is nothing decidedly bad here, it simply isn't as memorable and confrontational as "Recurrence". It's another damn fine effort from a Danish metal band though and it feeds the flame that "Recurrence" ignited, hoping to put Denmark on the metal map alongside its more successful Scandinavian peers. And I repeat, how is this band not signed yet?


Download: Re-Design, Release Yourself, Smile

For the fans of: Misery Signals, Mudslide, Scamp

Listen: Myspace

Release date 16.03.2009


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