Album Review: Settler by Vattnet Viskar
Posted by RiffRaff
Right off the bat, the most striking thing about Vattnet Viskar’s sophomore album would be its bright and happy cover art. If you didn’t know any better you could imagine that an album of cheery electronic music lies within it. However, Vattnet Viskar is a post-metal band and that photo isn’t as cheery as you may think it is. If you are from my generation (the 80s) or earlier you surely remember the Challenger mission. Things didn’t go very well and spaceships exploded and lives were lost. The photo in the cover art is inspired by a photo of Christa McAuliffe while she was on a ‘Vomit Comet’ training simulation about a year prior to being tragically lost in the Challenger launch disaster. It’s a quite a surreal and contrasting pic. So happy and at a peak in life only to have it all soon violently ripped away from her. But, still kind of life-affirming in a way. Now, does that cover art look a bit more metal to you?
Like its cover art Settler blends the uplifting with harshness and brutality as it weaves its tale of the final moments of Christa’s life exploring the theme of individuality and the infinite. Post rock structures and outstanding tremolo guitar styles work to create this astral feel as well as accentuate the more uplifting moments of the record while the growls and furious drums keeps things grounded. With this cocktail Vattnet Viskar are able to weave peaks and valleys of emotion flawlessly together and pack one hell of a punch into a relatively short for today’s standards record (about 40 min. total).
Snapping from a sense of wonder to one of panic and then shifting into joy then sadness and acceptance make this a very engaging album. The progression is in constant motion and the contrasts never feel jarring nor out of place. From the Yob-like psychedelic doom of ‘Yearn’ to the blackened assault of ‘Impact’ or the Isis inspired ‘Glory’ and that soul shattering solo on ‘Coldwar’ which closes the album, pretty much every single second here is used wisely and to its full potential.
I honestly can’t think of a single fault here. Vattnet Viskar have crafted an album that sticks out from their contemporaries and is easily one of the most memorable records in the post-metal realm. Great production, great songwriting, and even better performances make this a ‘must-listen’ album and I highly suggest you do so. 5.0