VAK is not a Norwegian black metal band, nor a Swedish death metal outfit, yet the band faced the real menace of death, but returned to life... During 2018, one member turned gravely ill from Lemierre’s syndrome and a thrombose in the head. There was no reason for naïve hope, anything could have happened. Fortunately, he recovered after being hospitalized in intensive care for more than a month, and when looking back he recalls: “I found myself in a type of situation where music can be of no help, although I at times tried to force away the anxiety with help from Sepultura or the B 52’s.”
Now VAK is back from the dead, presenting their second album “Loud Wind” through Indie Recordings, produced by themselves and mixed and mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna). “Loud Wind” consists of a blend of different songs where each has its own distinct idea. The members of VAK have a rich background in various bands and genres, such as Switch Opens (ex. Fingerspitzengefühl), Misery Loves Co., Slowland, Råtta, Sesam, Gordon Fights, Music is the Weapon, The Field and Gösta Berlings Saga. This is a great influence of the band’s original sound. Robin Skarin on keyboards creates a mesmerizing approach to metal through the lens of his jazz background, drawing mainly from Keith Jarrett. Guitarist Ivan Rey’s input also stems from non-metal influences preventing VAK from becoming another boring metal act.
The sound of VAK is hard to grasp. But if one wants to name inspirations, one could mention acts like Radiohead, Tool, Mastodon, Genesis, Kate Bush, Rage Against the Machine, Breach, Neil Young and Soundgarden. And this is essential: all five voices of the band are equally important, VAK is emphatically democratic in their process of creativity, and they also invited friends to a pre-listening session for input. Overall, VAK create a very rough blend of hard rock music, but with intelligence and humor. A listener who is smiling is a good listener. And this is exactly what drummer Anders Bartonek points out: “For me, laughter always needs to be a part of metal, I have always thought it’s very unserious to be too serious about creativity.” So, my advice is that you let VAK take you on their ride. You will enter foreign land. Your body and brain will be consumed. And it’s absolutely worth the effort of taking on something new!