VHÖL began as an idea by guitarist John Cobbett (Hammers of Misfortune) and drummer Aesop Dekker (Agalloch, Worm Ouroboros) to create music together. The two shared the stage for a number of years in the now-defunt Ludicra, and wanted their new collaboration to incorporate influences from both metal and hardcore punk—from the likes of old-school bands such as Discharge and classic Judas Priest. When the time came to find a vocalist, Cobbett and Dekker immediately thought of Mike Scheidt of YOB; without a second thought Scheidt committed his singular vocal talents to the project. Sigrid Sheie of (Hammers of Misfortune, Amber Asylum) rounded out the lineup on bass.
Despite the members’ pedigrees, VHÖL is its own beast distinct from anything black metal or doom metal—don’t think “Ludicra Part Two” or “Ludicra with Mike from YOB on vocals.” Yet their signature styles are all over the group’s self-titled debut, a pummeling, face-melting attack that doesn’t let up for one moment. Raw and primal, the album pulls from a diverse set of influences for a feeling of both savagery and epic beauty.