Album Review: Vera Grace – Novella

Vera Grace - NovellaThis is a complex little release from the Oxfordshire metalcore quintet Vera Grace; ‘Novella’ being precisely that, a short story being narrated along the six tracks on offer here. It’s a fairly original idea but lends itself well to the inherent drama and dark themes common to the genre.

‘Exposition’ opens the story about two religious brothers in busy fashion, with swirling guitar loops and chaotic drums underpinned by an air of desperation. It is insistently powerful and segues into ‘Act I’, an atmospheric interlude conjuring sombre images of church life.

’03 12_04’ picks up the thread in brutal fashion; the hard riffing adding tension to the drama of the protagonist’s loss of faith as he appeals to the “creator”. ‘Act II’ follows in a loop of feedback with short bursts of foreboding drums to accompany the inaudible distant screaming; surely the sound of death.

Novella by Vera Grace

‘Scene I – Griever’ steals the show with its atmospherically slow start and more patient vocal as the second strand to the narrative unfolds, with the mother of a murdered son coming to terms with her personal tragedy. Intense guitar lines build in layer upon layer of sonic fury to accompany the anguished vocal performance lamenting what has been lost – what a great track.

The denouement occurs in ‘Scene II – Catharsis’ as the mother and killer come face to face. All the elements of the band’s sound combine in this chaotic final chapter – there’s anguished screaming from Stephen Nulty on vocals, scathing guitar attacks, pulsating bass interludes and a slow brooding climax bringing this intense 20 minute EP to an exhausted close.

This is an ambitious project but Vera Grace are a creative bunch, each member involved in their own side projects, so they bring different elements to the band and manage to make it work. Given the genre, the vocal style isn’t so well disposed to a narrative project but it’s still pretty clear what is going on, and musically speaking it’s very well executed; good stuff.

4/5

‘Novella’ by Vera Grace is out now.

Vera Grace links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)

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