Review | VORGA Explores Futuristic Ruin On Striving Toward Oblivion

            A fatal course is pursued by these German void dwellers, and its outcome is on the threshold with a new manifestation to follow 2019’s Radiant Gloom. This debut expedition offered a glimpse at the celestial forces lying beyond our known sphere, and now VORGA has engaged a full-length immersion in this universe titled Striving Toward Oblivion. These compositions expand on the bleak galactic substance of their origins, with a strong melodic approach that emanates the cold darkness of space, and those qualities prove ideal for conveying the deeper harshness within. Complex formulas take hold as multiple elemental currents are weaved into passages of fierce and brooding immensity, which seizes an otherworldly distinction for Striving Toward Oblivion, and it further demonstrates VORGA’s capacity for evoking astronomical realms.

            The voyage begins at lightspeed on “Starless Sky,” with pronounced tremolos coursing over blast beats, and their convergence with heavier currents generates a dissonant effect. This quality is among the dark formulations of malice and gloom conjured throughout, and a bleak aura is sustained by the concerted arrangements within a clear and cold production. The subtle use of ambience promotes a vast atmospheric presence, and “Comet” exhibits that influence alongside its detailed melodic shapes, which are a prominent factor in developing memorable passages with varying tonal and cosmic impressions. This track also foregoes the blasting intensity in favor of different rhythms to augment its melodies, and they stride along with intricate patterns and grooves while also venturing into sparse areas, where the desolation from strings is effectively mirrored. Encounters with these sections are notable when manifesting the primary void, and they often highlight dreary arpeggiations or other forms that evoke a distinct spirit of the cosmos. An exemplary display of this essence unfolds in the blast beat-driven path of notes ascending on “Last Transmission,” and other pulsating designs are realized before the pace drops for a marked sinister embodiment. It persists as fury regathers through escalating double bass, and recurring sequences are enhanced by percussive nuances until an end recaptures the initial momentum.

            The riffing is undoubtedly prominent in these compositions, and it cooperates with the melodic and percussive elements to drive a forceful impact. An imposing manifestation of space is forged within its heavy masses, and various rhythms are traversed to reveal diverse shades among their blackness. The crunch from multiple palm-muted structures alternates with open progressions on “Disgust,” and these are paired with apt rhythmic formations to create areas of sinister flow and groove. Gusts of cosmic energy appear during one such occasion, and other ambient tones also haunt a break in the sharpened riff attack of “Fool’s Paradise.” Its restored power is then accompanied by a disembodied scream that stands apart from the leading vocal rasps, which project ceaseless hatred across the sonic expanse, and intricate drumming fills the voids between a section of crushing strikes while a cold splendor materializes. This aura is perceived at different levels throughout, including the orchestrations of a grooving pace on “Stars My Destination,” and here it stems from a gloomy core of tremolos and dismal arpeggiations. Those bleak impressions extend to a similar point amid the brooding thickness of “Taken,” and the cosmos effectively takes hold through dark majestic traces until a burden prevails on “Death Manifesting.” A malign entrancement is induced by the notes circulating around its heavier patterns, and these layers merge with a heightened sorrow to advance this journey toward its terminal status.

            Nihilism and contempt glare from within this grim futuristic realm, and a futile quest initiates on “Starless Sky,” with the aspirations here deemed “Inconsequential” and “Detrimental” because of “A cosmic lunacy that cannot be restrained.” Antireligious sentiments are also introduced when light imagined as “A figment of empyrean fantasy” strikes as an allusion to wishful ideas of the afterlife, and these progress on “Disgust” through calls to accept “The endless because there is no hope” and “No purpose.” It describes “A life infernal, promised eternal” along with a “Wicked laughter in the face of your efforts,” and this ties to the apocalyptic suggestions on “Stars My Destination,” where “It’s too late for redemption” and “The crowning achievement of our existence” is “A monument to ignorance.” These highlight a misanthropic perspective alongside an “Existence wasted” and “Planet violated,” and it also asserts earlier views in “There is nothing that’s weaker than the wish for immortality.” It’s stated that this “Sickened life, born from a weakened mind” will discover that “Only death stares back” in the end.

             Scrutiny of a herd mentality continues on “Fool’s Paradise,” where “Self-importance, a tainted ego” with “Cravings for purpose” are observed leading to “Lunatic thoughts” and “Fanatic actions,” and those unable to cope with the harsh reality are scorned through “I’m too important, this can’t be it.” Their false comfort of “Promised answers in a reverie” inevitably drives them to “Walk blindly in fool’s paradise.” The misanthropic tone is fully engaged on “Comet,” and it targets governing powers involved in the downfall who are “Maniacally dictating, with blood persuading.” The “Collapses of nations” are observed, along with a “Military in Execution” that is “Strafing through the cosmos” as “Bringers of death,” and this is also where the “Innocent and blind, of stale and ingrown minds” are “Sailing nowhere” to explore “The depths of our pride.” The “Infinite cosmos” serves as “A hostile backdrop, for hostile actions,” and these portend the fallout on “Last Transmission.” A survey of “The extent of our ruin” ensues while “Marching towards our graves in resignation,” and “Escaping to the stars only holds out hope” as “Oxygen is getting low.” Fault is acknowledged in “We deserved this” and “We had our time,” with mankind’s vile outcome affirmed in a last communication, which is “We’re fading out,” and “You shouldn’t care.”

            Abhorrence for humanity continues on “Taken,” where extermination is the only cure since “All we’ve come to care for is tainted,” and desire for an ultimate cleanse is noted in “May the day be born anew” while calling to the “Blackened sky, infinite and faceless” to “Send to us what we are due.” The hopelessness from preceding tracks returns when accepting “No other course of action” with “A foregone conclusion, our extinction,” and the longing for “Death’s embrace” to take “One and all, in one fell swoop” is realized on “Death Manifesting.” This unfortunate end transpires with “Smoke and sickness” being all that remains, along with “Sadness and despair.” The sun has become “A black hole and a smoking gun” as final reflections on how “All the talk and the fervour of our great future” led to being trapped “Between a broken Earth and dead star,” and how “It was all for nothing.” There are many possible inferences to be drawn from these lyrics, and they conjure a detailed outer space setting with context that also fits the grim ideologies typified in black metal.

            The first full venture from VORGA delivers on the promise of their debut, and the objective of Striving Toward Oblivion is achieved through visceral songcraft that captures a desolate cosmos, along with the desperation prompting its future inhabitance. The cold riffing energy reflects this blackened expanse while also demonstrating a vicious edge, with various structures and techniques that form memorable progressions, and these are compounded by the drive from aligning percussive details. An overarching tone of darkness and despair is enhanced by the melodic potency, which is instrumental in shaping a vast and imposing cosmic aura, and it also inspires a grandiosity that travels further with calculated traces of ambience. VORGA directs these influences into multi-layered interactions that harmonize black metal with sci-fi aesthetics, and their enchantment makes Striving Toward Oblivion a worthy retreat toward the grimness surrounding our terrestrial domain.

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