Vargrav – Encircle the Spectral Dimension

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Vargrav’s latest EP outing “Encircle the Spectral Dimension” was released on April 16th, 2023, via Werewolf Records. This time V-Khaoz Stormrage keyboardist strengthens himself with prominent vocalist Graf Werwolf von Armageddon (Satanic Warmaster, Orlok, Grieve, etc…..). The notion of expanding the band into a two-piece, the other instruments are handled by two guest session members such as bassist and guitarist Trollhorn of the Black Harvest and drummer Baron M. Tarwonen.

Once again V-Khaoz embarks on a journey across the spectrum of symphonic black metal, which uncovers the outstanding quality of songwriting and the work of art that made him famously remarked in the Finnish underground scene. The EP includes four songs, including the cover of Emperor’s Ancient Queen. The nineties’ inspiration from bands like Emperor, Odium, and, Limbonic Art has been the hallmark of Vargrav since the debut album “Netherstorm”. And the sophomore “Reign In Supreme Darkness” in its magnitude and symphonic approach giving you a sense of transformation in the sound. The opening track “Encircle the Spectral Dimension” is cloaked in the cosmic artistry of majestic black metal with mystical icy synth and gliding tremolo picked-riffs. And the accelerating blast beats unleash straight from the magical composition to conjure an aura of epic grandiosity.

While the blazing tremolos encapsulate the listener, Vargrav evokes the Norwegian symphonic black metal, the attribute of blazing guitars along with the dark ethereal synth patterns keeping you under the spell of wonderment. The swift reverb riffs and the blasting drums are accompanied well by Graf Werwolf’s raspy growls and the clarity of the instrumentation unearthing a sublime sonic forte, there are plenty of magical synth touches sprinkled with V-Khaoz’s symphonic trademarks.

Next is “The Glory of Eternal Night”, a song taken from the band’s sophomore. Which begins with an ambient synth passage providing some eerie moments for this song, but the abrasive pace of the guitars and the drums provide an epic feel. Cold blizzard riffs thrive on intense tremolos and the blast beats steeped in a wonderfully organic manner. The sublime symphonic sound has that beautiful nostalgic aura backed by the thundering buzz of the guitars painting grim landscapes and cosmic themes.

The riffs have a darker tone, and the synth blooms into swells of dynamic changes. The Emperor cover of “Ancient Queen” is fantastic and perhaps one of the best cover songs I’ve heard, which truly fits with Vargrav’s operandi. Despite sounding symphonic the final track “Netherstorm” is a live recording track but somehow lacks the classic rawness of the original version, the blurry sound quality is the only drawback here.


V-Khaoz truly shows his mastery of composition and his sonic efficiency is woven like fine silken threads. “Encircle the Spectral Dimension” is a great addition to Vargrav’s expanding catalog. But this is merely a short teaser for what is to follow next and sets up a new era for a collaboration between V-Khaoz and vocalist Werwolf. Hopefully, we hear some exciting news in the coming months from the band’s camp.


  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 8/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 8/10
  • Originality 9/10

Some inspiration tends to wane and wax like the moon over time, but Vargrav still embraces the nineties inspirations from the masters of symphonic black metal a la Emperor. The EP comes highly recommended for fans of Odium and Limbonic Art.

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