If you’re looking for schooling in heavy psych-infused rock and ancient West African religious cosmology – you need Possession, the debut album from London based band, VŌDŪN. If there were any cobwebs clinging to the space between your ears; they’ll be long gone by the time you’ve filled your cranium with their unusual but unforgettable sound.
This heavy “afro-futuristic tribe” are led by Oya (Chantal Brown), who has been described by Mojo as “Aretha fronting Royal Blood”. Marassa accompanies her as a voodoo inspired guitar wizard, and Ogoun pounds the living daylights out of the tribal inspired drums. Possession was mixed by Brit-nominated Tom Dalgety, and is a “soul-bearing” emotionally driven effort that encourages listeners to open their mystical third eye. The album is laced with history, which is shared via recordings on the opening ‘Loa’s Kingdom’ and at the end of tracks ‘Minos Army’ and ‘Divinity’. The recordings provide an insight in to the history of Vodun, and remind listeners of the band’s commitment to sharing a largely overlooked part of West African religious history.
Thudding drums and thrashing guitar dominate the first two tracks, with Oya’s soulful, almighty vocals driving the rhythm onwards. She’s allowed to catch her breath briefly on ‘Bloodstones’ but in true VŌDŪN style, the aggression and soul returns for a belting chorus and climactic final few minutes of this five minute cob-web clearer. ‘Oya’ accurately demonstrates the talents of the woman it’s named after; her vocals rise above the restless guitar like a voodoo spirit around a tribal campfire.
‘Loko’ is a brief interlude before the indulgent ‘Legba’s Feast’; a banquet of tribal drums, riotous guitar, and more powerful vocals. Eponymous track ‘Possession’ is “a gift and a curse”, and the wild guitar ceases only for Oya’s soulful pleas to “provide to the people”- a supernatural duty she obliges with ease. On ‘Divinity’ she sings “Your rhythm binds my soul, entwined with nature’s control” putting herself at the mercy of Vodun, personally and artistically. The band thrash their way through ‘Mawu’, a song made to “release the energy” to, whilst closer ‘Kanpay Rejeté’ concludes the record with some fantastically dense, filthy guitar playing.
VŌDŪN are a band who easily dispel their demons through angst and ancient voodoo, and their debut will satisfy hungry spirits in need of wild riffs and compelling voices, both ancient and new.
Possession is released on March 25th via Riff Rock Records