The Best Albums of 2013, #20

band01Vaura, The Missing

Black metal and post-punk have always complemented each other well, but few bands have been able to fuse both sounds in a way where either side complements and feeds off the other. And certainly no bands have had the guts to tackle both styles with as much enthusiasm and creativity as New York foursome Vaura. Led by former Blacklist singer-songwriter Joshua Strawn and featuring guitarist Kevin Hufnagel (Gorguts, Dysrhythmia) and bassist Toby Driver (Kayo Dot), the band hinted at good things to come on 2012’s Selenelion, but it all comes into full bloom on the follow-up. Vaura appropriates bits and pieces – tremolo picking, blastbeats, atonality, sleek melodies, piercing guitar accents, gothic grandiosity – and at first it can feel a touch piecemeal, but the more you let The Missing settle, the more cohesive it turns out to be. One song will lean a little more toward the metal side, another like “Incomplete Burning” will venture into full-blown pop, and in the case of the revelatory closing track “Putting Flesh to Bone”, both sides will interweave equally, to beautiful effect. When I first heard this album in August, I liked it. A month later, I loved it, and now in December, I’m still discovering new aspects of it I hadn’t noticed before. However you want to categorize it, it’s one of the richest, most subtly rewarding albums I’ve heard all year.

Profound Lore