ALBUM REVIEW: Voices – Frightened

Release Date: April 27th 2018
Label: Spinefarm Records/Candlelight Records
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Extreme metal outfit Voices have undergone quite a sonic reinvention since their ambitious 2014 effort, ‘London’, which painted a masterfully grim picture of the city. The focus, as well as the sound, has now changed for ‘Frightened’. Strictly speaking, this may not even be a metal record, but the monolithic genre boundaries of the great metaphorical Berlin Wall need smashing the fuck down.

‘Frightened’ is an experiment that pays dividends; there’s a heavy influence of post-punk and gothic rock, yet bubbling underneath is the signature madness and chaos, which retains a huge part of their sound. Both ‘Unknown’ and ‘Dead Feelings’ meld their new direction with blast beats, and audible anguish in the vocals.

And the record keeps you intrigued all the way. ‘Rabbit’s Curse’ does contain one of the most bizarre and absurd vocal deliveries that you’ll ever hear from Peter Benjamin – a dramatic, near-operatic croon – but there’s more to this album than simply being weird. There are moments of pure majesty and tenderness, such as , assisted by acoustic guitars and strings.

‘Funeral Day’ contains many ringers for acts such as The Cure, Killing Joke, and even David Bowie to some degree. The stabby post-punk guitars, and the thunderous yet tasteful drumming of David Gray makes this a treat for sure.

Further on, the true magnum opus is ‘Home Movies’, which has it all; guitars that easily be on a Bauhaus track, a brief black-metal section (three members are/have been in Akercocke), and an elongated dialogue.

Closer ‘Footsteps’ is another memorable highlight, recalling Type O Negative at their most soul-bearing, and this is demonstrative of the raw emotion on display on this record. Previous stand-alone single ‘Petrograph’ would have been a great inclusion, but that’s only a very minor gripe.

When many bands try and re-invent themselves and lose all of their soul in the process, Voices have strayed far away from those trappings. ‘Frightened’ may not quite be an album for everyone, but anyone who likes a challenging listen will be rewarded considerably. They could go in almost any direction with its follow-up.