Premiere: “Sirens” From Vorvaň’s Once Love Was Lost + Full Album Review


For whatever reason, bands from Russia don’t seem to be on anyone’s radar here in North America. Has Obama imposed an embargo on all music from the country because of diplomatic tensions between the two nations? Is Putin such a tyrant that he wants to keep music from his country all to himself? There are no answers to these questions unfortunately, but as luck would have it WOOAAARGH records slipped us a copy of Russian metal/hardcore band Vorvaň’s latest album Once Love Was Lost and we’re glad they did because we get to share a track from their new album along with a review.

Here’s what is likely your first introduction to Russia’s Vorvaň, a band that combines both aspects of hardcore and metal so well that it would be irresponsible to pigeonhole them into either camp. We’re very excited to be premiering the track “Sirens” below. This song is an absolute rager that features guest vocals from Meghan O’Neil (ex-Punch/Super Unison) whose unmistakable screams jump out and grab you by the throat. Vorvaň display their musical chops by keeping their foot on the gas as they thrash and grind their way through “Sirens” with a relentless attack. You’ll hear a nice balance of metallic hardcore riffing combined with flourishes of tech death that will most definitely have you more fired up than your morning cup of coffee.

Before delving into the musical content here, you may be wondering what the name of the band means. The word Vorvaň is from the Russian word for the aquatic mammal known to us as the sperm whale (vorvaň obrovsky). According to Wikipedia, the sperm whale is the largest toothed predator in the sea. This species of whale can grow up to sixty-seven feet in length and have been known to dive into the deepest depths of the sea. From the info I gathered on this beast I’ll say that its most bad ass quality is that it’s known for fighting off whalers; joke’s on those people for thinking they can capture or kill such a large animal. What does this all have to do with the band Vorvaň? This album is a beast much like the animal they’ve coined themselves after.

The press release for this album caught my eye right off the jump because it was mixed by the god king Kurt Ballou, whose resume of quality album credits reads like a who’s who of Hall of Fame alumni in the world of underground metal and hardcore. It’s important to note here that the album was not recorded at Ballou’s God City studios and again that he only mixed the album. The credit here goes to the team who recorded Once Love Was Lost because without the sounds and performances they were able to coax out of Vorvaň and their instruments, Ballou wouldn’t have something to work with.  In addition to that Vorvaň also got some assists from Meghan O’Neil and members of Italian grinders Afgrund on a couple tracks. Now that we’ve got all the particulars out of the way, let’s dive into the album itself.

Once Love Was Lost is very diverse album that touches on many of metal and hardcore’s subgenres across its ten tracks. The opener “Of Menace and Favour” sounds like Machine Head meets Converge. The drumming in particular is the engine that drives this machine by kicking in spats of fast double bass and frenzied fills throughout. The song’s opening riff serves as the glue that holds the song together as it starts off with a few simple power chords that shift and transform over the course of the track. The first time you hear this track, you may initially be caught off guard by the Sick Of It All “whoas” that close it out. It all ties together as the song flows from start to finish. On “Third Case Scenario”, the pace slows down as Vorvaň start you off with some shades of Neurosis along with some not quite singing/not quite screaming vocal stylings. The track builds on the opening segment and proceeds to take a heavier direction with tribal drumming that then morphs into a blackened section of tremolos and blast beats. Things close out on a bendy rock-tinged riff that works wonderfully with a hardcore stomping beat that goes along with it. Considering all the diversity in this track, it’s still strong for the way in which all the parts flow and change seamlessly. The angular riffing that greets you as “When Serpent Strikes First” starts up will most assuredly please the Converge fans who enjoyed All We Love, We Leave Behind.

Vorvaň prove themselves capable when tackling a longer song as well. Tracks such as the epic “Celestine” and closer “The End (Hemicrania)” are both lengthy tracks, but you hardly notice as they are constantly shifting and introducing new elements throughout without being repetitive. There’s no waiting around for a special moment or a particular riff on these tracks because much like the shorter songs on the record, everything feeds off of the section that proceeded it. All the tracks on Once Love Was Lost have a fluidity in the songwriting that make for an engaging listen that boasts a horde of influences, precise musical acumen and an overall great sounding record. If you’re a fan of the other bands mentioned here as part of Vorvaň’s sound, you’ll find plenty to like. Even more awaits you as you “dive right to the bottom and feel the power of whale punk” like their Bandcamp page says.

4 out 5 Flaming Toilets Ov Hell


Once Love Was Lost will be released on October 14 through WOOAAARGH. Head over to Vorvaň’s Facebook page to give em’ a like and let them know that a toilet-themed metal blog transported you there.

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  • Ayreonaut

    Not true!
    Some Russian band opened up when I saw summer slaughter a couple months ago.
    They were terrible.

  • Sir_William_Whalus

    These young whippersnappers honor my fellow leviathans. Keep up the good fight and beware the treachery of squids.

    • Eliza

      Did you have to remind us of that?

      • And let the great atrocities of history repeat themselves lest we forget? Someone must remember.

    • Eliza does not speak for all of us


    • Putin can hang on to these guys.

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    I will definitely be checking this out! Name dropping Sick of it All will do that. Thanks for premiering this Mr. Deuce, always nice to see the Toilet in the spotlight

  • Jack Rabbit

    Sperm whales are sick, bands pretty cool too

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    This is jamming

  • Afgrund is Swedish, bre

    • I was just going to comment on that.

    • Hmm FB page says Italy. I originally did have Sweden.

      • That’s odd.
        After checking their Metal Archives page, though, it looks like they were formed in Sweden but have members from all over.

        • They are down to two members now and are doing the next album as a two piece then they’ll recruit others for touring.

  • Howard Dean

    There is lots of great metal music from Russia if you’re truly looking and are open minded about it. But it’s not always a pretty journey.

  • I might forgive Kurt Ballou for not relecting a new Converge album whenever I feel like listening to new Converge he keeps up this work in the studio, hot damn.

    • Converge should have a new album next year.


  • Stockhausen

    I like that album cover. I’ll ham this later.

  • Not a huge fan of this kind of hardcore, but I must say that they have the malicious groove, the guitar tone and the guts. And I’m a fan of said things.

    Great writing, Ron. And thanks for sharing. I will try to jam this full album.

  • You have a gift for describing music in detail, Mr. Deuce! Will have to jelly this at work. Things get too hectic, I’ll scatter some change about the floor

    • Thanks McNulty, I’ve had the album since August and there’s a nice balance of metal and hardcore on this album. Every track has its own flavor.

      • I’m excited. That Machine Head cover was a good, and I just bought dat Gloom EP on Bandcamp, very cool stuff. Glad you brought this band to my attention

        • Machine Head is one of their big influences, I picked that up before I saw the cover.Haven’t check Gloom yet , on the to- do list.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    im not a big hardcore guy but this is jammable

  • Óðinn
    • Howard Dean

      Wah wah wee wah.

      I’ve nicknamed you “Skoal,” Odinn. Because you are always there in a pinch.

  • Waynecro

    Dude, this shit rips! Thanks, Deucebro!

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