Review Summary: dark and disgusting
Whether you can appreciate his often convoluted black noise/hardcore hybrid bands or not, one thing nobody can deny about Mark Mckoy is the passion he has for his work. Born in 1975, this Illinois music mogul has certainly been around the block a few times; starting his career in music as a member of legendary powerviolence unit Charles Bronson, Mark Mckoy has not only been involved in literally of dozens of other successful projects ranging from black metal to noise to thrashcore, but his label Youth Attack! is easily one of the best in American when it comes to the black metal/hardcore/powerviolence etc... underground. Although on hold since their first and only 2005 demo release, Mark Mckoy once again has resurrected Arts, a black metal project whose 2010 opus Vault of Heaven
not only matches the heinous intensity of their band's earlier work, but often times surpasses it as well.
Losing none of the aggresive potency of their demo, Vault of Heaven
shows Mckoy introducing a sense of refinement to his blackened mass of chaotic metal, giving Arts an unmistakable sound all of their own. Fast, precise yet dripping with raw black metal's misanthropic filth, Mckoy's penchant for off-kilter riffs has never sounded so good, especially in songs such as "O.O.O" and "Nex Escendo Caelv" where walls of pummeling punk meets black metal guitar lines clash with the Youth Attack! owners vile rasp and absolutely chaotic assault of percussion. Of course punk and hardcore take a huge part in songs of Arts; traces of Mckoy's first love can be found around almost every of Vault of Heaven
although now their already battering traits have adopted the malice of black metal, an abrasive yet unabashedly successful combination that gives songs such like "Perfumed Saturnine Angel" that extra dose of ferocity, while still keeping the fresh, exciting and daresay perversely catchy.
Containing eleven songs though only lasting twenty three minutes, Vault of Heaven
goes down fast, but in no way goes down easy; full of unconventional song structures, barrages of primitively charged power chord riffs and enough blast beats to keep you satisfied for weeks, Arts has ironically made raw black metal an art-form albeit an abstract one at that.