Bands who come together again ten years or more of hiatus can often be accused of doing it just for the novelty, the nostalgia, the money—and sometimes those criticisms are perfectly warranted. But for Swedish doom supergroup V, who have been around in one form or another for almost 20 years and who last made music together a decade ago, it’s definitely about the music and the connection. Other band commitments meant that their debut three-track EP didn’t see the light of day until last year, and that only hinted at what they could achieve,
On Pathogenisis, their full-length debut, V bring to the table a slightly simplified take on modern sludge. They circle back to their 90s origins, bringing hardcore-tinged lines to a sound that has been stripped back and echoes with a rawness that can only be wrought from the pain of real life. V’s members are also involved in high-profile bands like Katatonia, In Mourning, Afrgrund, and Oak; collectively, these Swedes bring plenty of experience to the darkness of Pathogenisis and the fragile beauty that they allow to hint at throughout, not least in the bittersweet melodies of “Suspended Animation” and its shimmers of light gliding over gothic guitars.
Pathogenisis treads the sludge path extremely well, but V don’t adhere to all the rules. Instead, they often pull back from fuzzy guitars and overwhelming noise to allow the vocals to take center stage, and give Andreas Baier’s words space to echo. Each line is deliberate; the narrative builds from opener “Souls of the Nearly Departed” and runs through a litany of tortured subject matter, from the pain and anguish of being alive to the damage we’ve done to this world and the inevitable destruction that will be left in our wake.
For V, the disease is mankind and there is no cure. They don’t shy away from the knowledge that we are the infection coursing through the Earth’s veins. Pathogenisis is now available from Suicide Records on 12” vinyl and digital via their Bandcamp page—listen to it in its desperate entirety below.
Cheryl Carter is animated on Twitter.
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