Vaka’s Kappa Delta Phi: This is Seriously the ONLY Frat I’d Consider Joining

It’s quite a ways to go from the self-titled Demon Cleaner album’s good-timey rocking Kyuss groove to Vaka get red and Greek on your ass.Vaka‘s Kappa Delta Phi, but considering it took Karl Daniel Lid?n seven years to make the leap from playing drums on the one to doing everything on the other including producing and mixing, the stylistic shift at least has some context. With Vaka, Lid?n tackles a heavy post-metal aesthetic with a unique, piano-laden approach to what’s become a style flooded with mediocre bands.

That said, a Neurosis comparison isn’t necessarily inappropriate, and there are some Enemy Of The Sun-isms present for sure, but the brand of crushingly atmospheric experimentalism Vaka emit strikes even more like a hyper-realized version of Enslaved offshoot Trinacria, who released their Travel Now Journey Infinitely debut last year. There is a weighty darkness to the music that strikes as pure Scandinavian, rather than born out of US hard/metalcore as so many other post-metal acts are. Sounds more like itself, in other words. Not a bad thing.

Interestingly, the times listed on the inside panel of the gorgeous digipak for tracks two and three — “Born to Secrecy” and album highlight “I of Everything” — are wrong, which speaks of a change in the splitting between the two; 30 seconds of ambience is added to the end of “Born to Secrecy” and missing from “I of Everything.” Doesn’t affect how Kappa Delta Phi sounds at all, is just interesting to note, as though Lid?n had a last second change of mind, for whatever reason. Maybe he was hoping by starting it quicker, “I of Everything” could be more effective as a single. It’s certainly catchy enough.

Dozer guitarist Tommi Holappa guests on that song (he and Lid?n were in Greenleaf together), and the rest of Kappa Delta Phi is rife with appearances as well, including Dozer bassist Johan Rockner, former Sunride guitarist Wille Naukkarinen and Manne Ikonen, both of Finland‘s Ghost Brigade, I are Driod‘s Peder Bergstrand (ex-Lowrider), who also handled the layout,? Misha Sedini of Lingua (who donates an aggressive Scott Kelly impression to “Stalemates” and “Somersaults”) and producer Erik Nilsson, who contributes guitar to “I of Everything” and closing duo “Stalemates” and “For Redemption.”

Given the involvement of so many people, the musical scope of Kappa Delta Phi and the fact that recordings took place in no less than five separate studios in Sweden and Finland with three engineers beyond Lid?n himself, that this album didn’t turn into a colossal mishmash of unintelligible, chopped up noises with absolutely no cohesion or sense of flow is either a miracle or a testament to a genius Lid?n has been sitting on lo these many years. Not only does Kappa Delta Phi sound like an album from a band, it sounds like a singular vision brought together with precision far too exceptional for a debut release.

Vaka‘s niche is carved by extensive synth use, Lid?n‘s creative yet non-?tribal? drumming, varied vocals (delivered by various people), the piano and string mellotron. It?s more satisfying the louder it?s played, but at any volume, it?s good to hear a post-metal “band” unsatisfied with simply aping the subgenre?s founders. In a movement getting staler by the minute, this kind of creativity is just what could make keeping it going worthwhile.

The man at the board.

Vaka on MySpace

Murkhouse Recordings

Tags: , , ,

One Response to “Vaka’s Kappa Delta Phi: This is Seriously the ONLY Frat I’d Consider Joining”

  1. Great review – much, much appreciated!

    You’re actually the first one who has noticed that 30 second mystery between Born To Secrecy and I Of Everything (that I know of anyway), so I just felt the need to explain:

    It’s not because I had hopes for IOE to be a single or anything like that, but the track is – and should feel like – an uptempo track. The “problem” however was that since BTS is at a higher bpm than IOE it resulted in IOE feeling kinda slow & sluggish when it kicked off (without the intro). So it’s simply there to “reset your brain” between the two tracks.
    Anyway, the intro was planned to be at the beginning of IOE but I changed my mind at the last minute (after the artwork was done) as the intro doesn’t really contribute anything to IOE, so I decided to stick it to the end of BTS instead since it’s only really needed to bridge the two.

    This was perhaps an unbelievably uninteresting read, but there you have it.

Leave a Reply