Vivus Humare, a band formed in 2007 but having only a demo (2008’s “Prolog”) in their arsenal, is a prime example of mismatching visual aesthetic vibes. On one hand, the band members’ photos are suggestive of a “modern” and almost comical, Borgir-esque approach, which I personally find unattractive. But then one gazes upon the wonderful album cover, with the parchment-like texture and the ink drawing, full into the spirit of antiquated black metal, and the scales shift towards a positive appreciation of the band’s visual image.
“Einkehr” is not a lengthy album, its duration just barely over 35 minutes. Of its music direction, one could abstractly place it amidst the depressive and atmospheric sub-genres, balanced on an occult and subterranean edge. The band’s focus on soundscapes of tangible darkness is evident throughout the album, especially in the final track, “Traum”, which has drunk deeply of the “De Mysteriis..” chalice. In contrast to other bands of the sub-genres in question, Vivus Humare do not falter on the speed spectrum, navigating tempestuous, blastbeating seas as well as placid, mid-tempo waters. Guitar riffology is fluent in repetitive expression, of an atmospheric, almost dungeon-like hue. Of special note are the clean vocals, injected throughout a large portion of the record; while the typical, black-metal-ish ones are prevalent, the fervid character of the former makes them quite functional in the building of atmospheric tension. The tracks’ compositional style is mainly concerned with shifting between passionate blitzkrieg and spacious, shadowy, slow parts; both in micro-(inside each of the three “main” tracks) and macro-scale, though diversity is not to be missed. The Australian atmospheric black metal scene comes into mind, specifically bands as Moon, Drowning the Light, and Pestilential Shadows.
Vivus Humare debut is a solid piece of work, which, although could certainly improve on the diversity-of-composition compartment, creating a greater array of memorable moments, is nevertheless far above the average album of this particular BM sound. Personally, I consider the dark, skeletal majesty of “Traum” as the way to go on their follow-up releases. “Einkehr” is an excellent companion to nocturnal wanderings, imaginative or not.