Progressive death metal is a rare sight compared to technical death metal. Some would say that all technical death metal is progressive or vise versa, but I disagree.
Many bands sacrifice accessibility for progressiveness and as such become rather esoterical. But with the Tunisian death metal band Vielikan this is not the case. Their personal style of metal is enjoyable to fans of regular death metal and progressive metal alike.
Comprised of seven otherworldly tracks of alien horror "A Trapped Way for Wisdom" is a collection of Nocturnus-esque death metal with lots of progressive undertones aswell as showcasing great skill in both songwriting and sense of pace. The talented growls of the vocalist leads me to think of such singers as Mikael Åkerfeldt in his hayday and the other Swedish growler Peter Tägtgren.
As I mentioned earlier I don't think progressiveness and musical technicality needs to go hand in hand, and Vielikan perfectly demonstrates that progressive death metal doesn't need to have billion notes per minute or run in speeds of 230 BPMs. The album has everything you could ever want from a death metal album, maybe except for blistering speeds. They've got malevolent aggressiveness, eerie chilled out slow parts and ominous atmospheres all around.
The third song, Zero Affection, to me is the absolute climax of the album. Some might say it's an early climax, but it works great as a mindsetter for what's to come. The mighty ascending roar around 2 minutes into the 7 minute song is plain genius. As far as album art goes the cover sets the mindset of how the music sounds: Eerily dark, spacey and esoteric. Vielikan are obvious masters of lengthy songwriting leaving almost nothing to be wanted. During the time where I listened intensely to the album I never got bored. After having listened to the album a few times it really grew on me, especially as I started noticing the bass that always seemed to linger in the background, adding to the sense of dread and intensity.
Listen to this if you're into Bloodbath, Nocturnus, Augury, Obscura or Gorguts. Give it a few listens and you will not be disappointed. 9/10 guitars.
1. The Beginning of All Remorse
2. A Shelter of Flesh in the Void
3. Zero Affection
4. Black Marsh
5. A Vertiginous Fall
6. A Trapped Way for Wisdom
7. Celestial Autumn
VIELIKAN official site