Voidhanger are the kind of band who don’t mess around. The Polish three-piece play black-thrash of the utmost intensity and speed; the kind of metal that has had all superfluous elements removed, honing their sound into a sleek, vicious slice of audio violence. On third album, Dark Days of the Soul, they continue to play in a direct manner, with the eight songs on the album racing by in a blur of high-speed riffs, vicious leads, and commanding vocals, all underpinned by hammering drums and a sense of danger. It’s not subtle, it’s not pretty, but it certainly is effective.
Those who have encountered Voidhanger’s previous works will know what to expect, and Dark Days of the Soul delivers just that. There’s no real innovation in their black-thrash assault, but nor is there intended to be. This is music of violence and hate, with a slight sense of gallows humour running throughout. Songs like “Death Wish” and “High on Hate” convey the nihilistic, self-destructive mindset of the band, whilst the title of “The Void is Where the Heart is” shows their dark sense of humour, laughing in the face of death as he comes to claim us all. Yet, as dark as the subject matter is, there’s something inherently enjoyable the Dark Days of the Soul, with its speed and energy being utterly infectious and hard to resist. Sure, we may all be on our way to hell, but we’ll be headbanging and throwing devil horns on our way down.
Not that Dark Days of the Soul is a one-dimensional album in terms of sound. There’s a few slower moments – such as the chorus of “High on Hate” – which provide a much-needed sense of contrast, and seem tailor-made for getting crowds to chant along at live shows. Likewise, the opening half of closer “Hailing the Devil in Me” is built upon slower, palm-muted riffs and a sense of discomfort and darkness, before moving into more mid-tempo thrash territories.
In terms of aesthetic though, Dark Days of the Soul lives up to its title. This is black-thrash filled with violence and hate, and though the energy and overall speed of the album make it an enjoyable listen, there’s always the feeling that things could take a dark turn at any moment. Notably, compared with previous albums, it does feel as if Voidhanger are putting across more of their own personality, helping them to stand out amongst the black-thrash crowd – whereas previous album Working Class Misanthropy largely revelled in extreme metal tropes (including a song that was solely about how great old-school extreme metal is), the gallows humour and sense of nihilism conveyed by Dark Days of the Soul makes it feel more distinctive, and a step forward for the band.
Dark Days of the Soul Track Listing:
01. Dark Days of the Soul
02. Death Wish
03. Naprzod Donikad!
04. High on Hate
05. Man of Dark Secrets
06. The Void is Where the Heart is
07. War is Certain, Peace is Not
08. Hailing the Devil in Me
Run Time: 35:39
Release Date: March 2, 2018
Give the full Dark Days of the Soul album a spin below.