Launched back in 2008 by drummer and composer Vladimir Mejstelman, VAK carries the essence of the Zeuhl/Prog genre and following into the footsteps of Magma’s music. Their music is a mix of different time signatures, heavy mutation sounds, Jazz, female vocalizations, and the moments of metal thrown in with an Avant-Garde twist to send the shivers down the spine.
Their debut album entitled, Aedividea, which is released on the Soleil Zeuhl label, was originally going to be released as 2 EP’s (6 long tracks), but it didn’t happen. They recorded the music between 2011 and 2014. And the result is an inyour face jaw-dropping score like no other. Alongside Vladimir who plays the drums on the album, they consider; Thomas Bourgenot on Guitar, Joel Crouzet on Bass, Alex Michaan on Keyboards, Juliette Drigny on Flute, and Aurelle Sainte Croix on Vocals.
Joel’s bass resembles the essence of Jannick Top as Alex Michaan carries a little momentum of Mike Ratledge on the electric piano to go into a full throttle momentum. Which is evidential on the 14-minute title track. He and Juliette do this amazing improvisation in the midsection as if they are creating and increasing yet tense momentum to see who will make it into the finish line.
Most of the sounds on here sound like something out of an episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show as if VAK wanted to create something mysterious, hypnotic, and insanity like no other for Ren Hoek to see what he will do next to Stimpy. It’s evidential on the last 3-minutes of Alzh.
After the first seven minutes and forty-five seconds of a blistering metallic interstellar overdrive followed by Aurelle’s vocalizations, it becomes an eerie and sinister atmospheric finale that Alex Michaan does that he brings a shivering yet quiet noise on the keyboard to create that nightmarish terror for the insane asylum.
The space madness opener between bass and guitar from Joel and Thomas, creates an avant-zeuhl metal adventure through time and improve from Michaan as the three of them create some of punching grooves with stop-and-go moments between Vladimir’s drumming and Aurelle’s vocals on IJKL. I can also hear the essence of Tool’s Lateralus and Undertow-era as it shines brightly on Zeom.
Ellien is a wonderful mixture between the motoring roars of the 1974 period of King Crimson’s Red sessions and Henry Cow to go with it as if the two of them did a session together to create a dynamic and ominous fierce sinister sound with a mid-tempo rhythm with some unexpected time changes. The closing 10-minute track, Periscopy is a dystopian nightmare.
This is where VAK go into these haunting structures and it’s like the monster is right behind you ready to attack unexpectedly. VAK got those nailed. The spooky vocals that Aurelle in her vocalizations, are both chilling and ominous, it’s almost as if the soundtrack of a horror/sci-fi film done by either Argento or Cronenberg had used this score to give it a real jolt of shock and electricity.
I have listened to Aedividea about four times now. And I get scared and spellbound every time I listened to VAK’s music. The spirit of Henry Cow and Magma along with King Crimson are in their DNA and in their flesh and blood also. So be prepare to experience the sound and hypnotic beauty of the Progressive-Avant-Garde Rock and Zeuhl Metal sounds of VAK.