Jan-Simon : The decorative use of the diaeresis or umlaut in rock music has a long history. Mötley Crüe, Motörhead and Hüsker Dü are well known examples of what is known officially as the metal-umlaut. It looks interesting, but you can overdo it and that is exactly what the Norwegian band Vöödöö do. I assume the band’s name is pronounced the same, despite all the dots. The Norwegian language does not even have a “ö” in the alphabet so it is probably only meant to attract attention and that works. The cynic in me immediately says there is not much that will draw attention to either the band or its debut album ‘Ashes’ otherwise. They state in their bio that they push the boundaries of rock with a sound that reminds of Queens Of The Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys. With some effort I can agree with the latter, but it was not the first reference that came in mind. ‘Ashes’ sounds much more like the polished rock produced by bands like Coldplay and Snow Patrol. Effect-laden, radio friendly alternative rock on the edge of sentimental and pathetic. With some nice guitar riffs, I must admit. ‘The Secret’ and ‘Let it Burn’ are – because of their riffs – highlights and also the heaviest songs on the album. Guitar player Sveinung Fossan Bukve gets the opportunity to shine and grasps that chance with both hands.
‘Ashes’ is, not counting a few exceptions, filled with melodic, slightly danceable rock that would do well on radio, had there been radio stations interested in playing such music. Since it can’t be tested in the real world, I assume that Vöödöö is not really a band that storms the charts. They do much better as an album band, although it must be said they offer much of the same. Slightly bombastic rock over which singer Gøran Stavang Skage yells his lyrics full of anguish with a characteristic high pitched voice. Those of you who have now pushed the button and screamed out loudly “Muse!” have won bonus points and will now continue for the refrigerator. Indeed, it is just like Muse, only without songs like ‘Uprising’. This, and their awkward name, will in the end make the difference between sold-out stadiums and shows in the smaller venues in Norway.
The best thing about Vöödöö and ‘Ashes’ is the extremely stylish cover of the album. Gold on black with lettering that reminds of eighties heavy metal. Of course that will put you on the wrong track completely, but it still is beautiful. Only a pity that other than that there is as good as nothing remarkable about ‘Ashes’.