Review / Kvilla – The Ward

The exuberance of youth can be a fine thing. That excitement that can come from making loud, horrible music with your mates is a lightning feeling, especially so when ideas are free-flowing, and you feel you’re on the cusp of something remarkable. It can lead to some fine results; but it can also lead to an attempt to try to do just too much, as you try to put across all your ideas into a short space of time.

The Ward from Manchester-based Kvilla sadly falls prey to this later tendency. Hardcore, black metal, death metal, shoegaze, electronic interludes – it’s all present on this record. It’s a dizzying array of genres to try and pull from in the space of roughly 30 minutes, and Kvilla evidently have a lot of ideas and ambition. The trouble is, for every moment where their promise shines through, there are others where the ideas don’t quite gel, or aren’t given enough room to grow and develop before something new comes along.

The end result is one where the feeling of “more is less” comes to the fore. With so many riffs and movements darting in and out, and the vocalist constantly switching between screams, grunts, and a throat-shredding rasp, it becomes difficult to latch onto any points of reference for long. All the details are drowned out, and the songs rarely linger on a single idea or movement for long enough for it to build up momentum and linger in the mind.

All that said, though, The Ward is an enjoyable enough listen whilst it’s playing. There’s a definite energy to it, and I’ve no doubt that the band will sound hugely exciting and impressive live. There’s undeniably a solid band here, who have a lot to offer. The impression The Ward gives though is that they’d do better if they took their time a little more, gave their ideas more room to breathe, and opened up more space in their sound for the details to come through.

The Ward is out on 13th November and will be available here.

Words: Stuart Wain

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