by Thor

Swiss tech-death mad scientists Virvum debut their first full-length album “Illuminance” on Season of Mist and it’s ambitious.

BUT…ambition is not a factor I weigh very strongly when evaluating the success or failure of music.  These guys are as good a group of musicians as you can find, regardless of their genre or era.  Their respective abilities are incredible.  However, the sum of the parts here does not equal an experience that’s particularly enjoyable.
Virvum incorporate atmosphere, melody, tons of technical prowess, and again, ALL THAT ambition, and yet “Illuminance” is a sterile, boring listening experience that this reviewer will be hard pressed to ever sit through again.  How can that be?  The album lacks heaviness – first and foremost – as well as urgency, visceral punch, and every other ingredient that I enjoy about extreme music.

I feel like a jazz connoisseur describing Kenny G.  Can the guy play?  Absolutely.  Is it enjoyable?  No.  There’s nothing intangible typifying anything on “Illuminance.”  There’s nothing organic.  Ironically, this death metal is lifeless and that’s a problem.

Virvum can play their instruments exceptionally well, but whether you enjoy the songs they’ve crafted with those instruments depends on how much stock you put in their individual playing alone.  During an era when everyone is closer than ever to achieving technical perfection, I need more.