The Voynich Code - Aqua Vitae
Coming straight out of the beautiful Lisbon, Portugal, the five gnarly dudes who make up The Voynich Code launched a full on assault on the metal community last month with the release of the bands debut full length album, "Aqua Vitae." These talented young guys created a sick new technical-deathcore blend that is sure to please fans of both the brutal breakdown-obsessed fan base as well as the people who love crazy solos, wild riffs, and straight up dirty, filthy metal. Aqua Vitae has to be one of the more technical records I've gotten my hands on this year; up there on par with bands like Shadow of Intent, Rings of Saturn, and even Abiotic. Aqua Vitae is already making pretty steady waves in the underground music scene, and the album turned out to be a pretty kick-ass entry for a band who already set their own bar super fucking high!
The title track - "Aqua Vitae" - smoothly eases you into the war in your headphones with a very atmospheric, slow, and calming background noise and soft, beautiful piano keys lead you into the first metal track off the album, "Aurum." Right off the bat, vocalist Nelson Rebelo hits you with his menacing growls just before the full band comes in with their groovy jams that will leave any metal fan bobbing their head to the chug. It may sound like your typical deathcore track to the untrained ear - but listen more closely and you'll hear the underlying, hidden gems that make this stand out from the rest. Towards the end of the song, you'll be gifted some even groovier guitar-work that I can already tell is going to translate so well live. "Delusion" is my favorite track off this beast, and believe it or not, it's not because of the guest vocals by August Burns Red vocalist Jake Luhrs or even the slam-sounding pig squeals you get throughout the song (both of which I love); I instantly fell in love with this track because of what can only be described as a wicked ancient Egypt sounding part that is just so incredibly awesome. The nasty breakdown that follows after Jake's guest spot isn't to be overlooked either - it's intense, it's heavy, and it's sure to shatter some sound systems. Overall, just a wild ride The Voynich Code takes you on in just under five minutes. "Behind The Mirror" is another crazy track off of Aqua Vitae that did something you don't see very often - a guest guitar solo! "Behind the Mirror" features Ed Garcia of Vitalism and his guitar solo (around the 2:13 mark) is a sick addition to the already brutal and super "majestic" track. Other super noteworthy tracks off Aqua Vitae include "The Weight of a Mortal's Soul" and "I, the Weak," - although I gotta admit, this entire album is worth your time and at least one listen all the way through. I'm fairy confident fans of straight up death metal, fans of deathcore, fans of all things technical, and even metalheads who aren't super into the "heavier" stuff will find something off of Aqua Vitae to fall in love with. It's a great entry for The Voynich Code to kick it off with as a full length, and these dudes should be super proud of the clearly hard work they put in!