iVardensphere are well known for tribal drumming mixed with a strong industrial presence to back them up into pulse pounding soundscapes. What we have with Ragemaker is something different indeed. This whole album is a trip in to a world of fantasy, magic, warriors, and emotion.
There are still plenty of drums but there is only little of the industrial left (with a few exceptions, like the incredible track Orcus!) but what remains is a fantastical soundscape the likes of which remind me of the Dragon Age games, or when Andy LaPlegua made music for Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice.
The influence of This Morn' Omina (Of whom Scott Fox, main man of iVardensphere is also a member.) is also prevalent here.
Approach this album with these thoughts in mind rather than an industrial release and the album becomes a soul portal to another realm..
Industrial-tribalist iVardenspehere presents the album Ragemaker. Complex & layered, Ragemaker weaves electronics with haunting vocals, textured orchestral crescendos & percussive rhythms, creating hymns to totemic gods of war & rebirth, and to unknown ancient goddesses of harvest & hunt, telling the tragic mythos of The Shattering Queen. Ragemaker is a work of art - masterful & immersive.
Comparisons to soundtrack work such as the Mad Max Fury Road soundtrack by Junkie XL, the dramatic escalations of Hans Zimmer's works are easily made, But iVardensphere's work on this album also sits comfortably with the works of acts and composers influenced by and exploring ancient ancestral music, such as Einar Selvik, Danheim, and Heilung, though with a decidedly more driving, percussive slant.
Traditional percussion from all corners of the world, Taiko, Surdo, djembe, timpani, and more are deftly intermixed with all manner of sourced percussion sounds. Hammers and anvils, slamming doors, even the sound of a dumpster being kicked are sampled and folded into the sonic melange. The result is Ragemaker, a sweeping, cinematic album, equally suited as the next evolutionary step of iVardensphere, and as the film score to a post-apocalyptic motion picture.
iVardensphere are touring with Karkasaurus in the UK soon and the London leg of the tour is brought to you by karkasaurus and Elektro Vox! Click for the ticket link.
Also coming up soon with full live band set ups is EVM Fest:
If I'm not listening to industrial music, I'm usually listening to Nordic music, most likely Heilung or Wardrunna, I've often spoken before about how almost everyone in the industrial scene also loves and appreciates Nordic folk because the tribal and rhymical aspects are so similar. So in this regards this album can be seen as Norse/folk/pagan industrial(?) or at least a strong tribute to the very roots and foundation of industrial.. The fire of the human spirit, the primal beats, and alternative views on life that have evolved through to the present day and how music represents those same roots now. In that regards this album is one hell of an offering!
Honestly, it took me fifteen listens to Orcus before I could start reviewing this at the beginning!
The album opens up in a beautiful and peaceful way, like that of the Shire at the beginning of LOTRs. It's a real earworm of positivity which is flipped on it's head with 'The Maw'. Cultists hymnal droning, or the deep faith totem devotions of ancient tribesmen reverberate through the entire track with a brief respite of soul horn 'THOOM's. This lead masterfully in to..
'Ragemaker'.. This is where the drumming majesty of iVardensphere shows itself once again, mixed in amongst the recurring sounds of 'The Maw', this is a powerful, primal, and energetic track that pounds heavy and fierce like the drums of war moments before battle.
Ragemaker & The Shattering Queen music video:
'Varunastra' brings an otherworldly and ethereal voice in the form of Brittany Bindrim which reminds me of Maria of Heilung to some degree. It pushes the grandiosity of fantasy but also some futuristic aspects, for instance fans of the Warhammer Dawn of War games might appreciate the style of grim dark music here.
'The Shattering Queen'.. Is so tribal, it's like each drum hit shouts out in tributary pronunciation of the names of pagan Gods, monsters, and heroes with every beat. This is what iVardensphere is instantly known for, a war party of drums sounding out furiously. Intensity and energy pour fourth from this track in a deluge of dopamine!
The next few songs are like the backdrops to different towns with different cultures as the tracks poignantly follow on the journey. They are all capable of touching a different part of your soul with their individual directions to great effect.
This leads us to 'Orcus' which as I mentioned previously goes from tribal fantasy to industrial/electronics as it progresses with a bass and drop so filthy that your jaw can't make up it's mind between dropping to the floor or to clench in to a teeth grinding 'OOOOHHFFTT'. Needles to say, I'm quite the fan of this one as an Electro head! This is like the cyberpunk tracks we need to Aloy in Horizon: Zero Dawn taking out machine dinosaurs with tribal swag. The beat is deep, slowly aggressive, and almost painfully satisfying.
'The Age of Angels Is over' brings a more relaxed approach to the signature drums but not without its own great energy and vibe. Up next is 'Indomitus' which swings direction totally in to a (forgive me Scott!) Synth-pop / Industrial-Pop style song! It is a very catch and enjoyable track to say the least.
Lastly we have an electrical narration of the 'Sisters of the Vipers womb' which rounds the concept of the album off nicely. Finally, 'Helios' takes us down a more orchestral path like the outro of a powerfully good movie that you'll watch again and again.
A Whimsical Requiem for the Fey
The Maw (feat. Jesse Thom)
Varunastra (Feat. Brittany Bindrim)
The Shattering Queen
Eastruun (Feat. The Rain Within)
The Age of Angels Is Over
Indomitus (feat. Seeming)
Sisters of the Vipers Womb (feat. Brien Hindman)
So overall as you may have guessed I'm reviewing this as more of a soundtrack artistic piece rather than the electronic or industrial things I usually cover.
This album bridges so many genres and influences. It's is wonderful to see the evolution of music since ancient times transforming in to electronics, to now once again return to those ancient ways but with different technical approaches and instruments.
iVardensphere continue to push not only the realms of genre, but of thought, emotion, and the reasons for why we connect with music in the first place. There is something deeply spiritual to the music contained in this album but also undeniably within the realms of science fiction and the hope for a better future. Other than that, I can't really describe it, you need to go grab a copy and take this journey for yourself.
Soul factor: 9/10
Re-play value: 9/10
Overall score: 9.2/10
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