Viviankrist - Morgenrøde [Cold Spring Records - 2019]Former Gallhammer vocalist, Vivian Slaughter, not only relocated to Norway, but also relocated her sound. Recording under the name Viviankrist, Vivian expands her repertoire into the realm of electronic music. Attacking this from multiple angles, Morgenrøde showcases Viv's talents as well as opening her music up to a new group of listeners.
For her first solo record, Viviankrist puts forth 8 rough and vibrant tracks of interesting electronics. Mixing noise with layers of synth and other assorted goodies, Morgenrøde shows Vivian as a new and adventurous sound artist, often times combining layers like a seasoned pro. Outside of the sounds familiar to loyal Cold Spring fans, Viv moves into her own brand of different, crunchy electronica on songs like "Spite Spits" and "Cactus." While these may not be dance floor anthems, they will certainly get the listener's head nodding and feet tapping. Built with multiple layers, there are many paths to follow through the waves, and the tracks really begin to open up upon repeated listens. The most abundant style on the album, noisy, pulsing crawls through industrial soundscapes, are where Vivian feels the most at home and the most confident. Densely layered and vibrantly moving, these pieces make up the more engaging sections of Morgenrøde, and thicken up the album very well. Nestled in the middle of the album is the longest, most unique track, the eponymous "Morgenrøde." Softer than the rest of the album, this synthy, contemplative opus nicely combines the experimental ebb and flow, and Viv makes the absolute most of the 8+ minute run time. The restraint shown on this track highlights Vivian's talent, and raises the excitement level for what would seem to be her inevitable follow-up album.
Opening with a very strong first solo effort, Viviankrist's Morgenrøde looks to be the start of a very strong electronic career. The shift in focus from black metal/crust punk to electronic music seems out of the ordinary, but after hearing this release, it was set in the stars. Vivian touches on a few different styles on this album, and more often than not, hits the mark like a seasoned pro. Hopefully her follow-up release isn't too far behind.Paul Casey