Review Summary: Pulverizing and lean, Vasaeleth's debut EP for Profound Lore Records is merely a glimpse at what is to come from two of the Bible belt's most brutal sons
If one were to rank the most awkward nouns one could possibly endorse it is an assured bet that "Satanism", "Skinhead" and "Propoganda" would not be far from the top of the list. Which, of course, makes these nouns a perfect combination for an extreme metal record output looking to obliterate audiences queasy of anything lacking a safety word for the aural BDSM that metal music should deliver. So in 2009 when two Bible belt natives calling themselves Vasaeleth released their debut "mission statement" titled "Demo MMIX" through Satanic Skinhead Propoganda, the underground extreme music scene fastidiously took notice, a focus further refined when the duo (consisting of string strangler and vocalist O.A. and skin pounder Antinom) signed to Profound Lore records and released their vilifying debut "Crypt Born and Tethered to Ruin" in 2010. The record vomited hate and spewed black energy, and their audience quickly and enthusiastically spread the word. Further adding to the growing interest was the mysterious name of the band itself, as well as the remarkable collaborative spirit of the musicians who do not even live in the same state crafting music so well-rehearsed and effective. Personally, the only collaboration I can begin to compare it to is that of Hip-Hop producers J. Dilla and Madlib under the name of Jaylib. Though musically very different, the projects share the identity of an artistic melding of two musicians separated more by geography than creative projectory.
For three years Vasaeleth fans waited for the group's next release, a release which would prove to be both incendiary and foreboding. "All Uproarious Darkness" is an excellent example of an EP which can hold its own against any album (i.e. Revocation's "Teratogenesis"). In fact, its brevity is undoubtedly a strength. At a lean five tracks, all bull$h!t is shoved aside in favor of noisefist facef#*^ing. The title track, in particular, is an all-out assault of blast beats, "Reek of Putrefecation" style throat mangling and Mortician-playing-black metal guitars. "Paradise Reconsecrated" has one of the most remarkable breakdowns I have ever heard in my life. The track oscillates between black metal blast and death metal trudge more masterfully than I can accurately articulate, particularly in the break down, which goes from galloping head bang tempo into black metal skittering, then slowing down to a doomy sludge, complete with a howling guitar yelp that represents everything solid about Vasaeleth's approach to heavy music. "Fathomless Wells of Ruin" sounds pretty exhausting to play for Antinom, its blast beats are ferociously fast (and not digitally fabricated…take that, technical death core bands!). Hell, it's almost like Buddy Rich playing Ulver. Plus, much like the previous track, the break down truly exemplifies O.A.'s brilliance as a guitarist. It is at once beautiful, merciless and creative.
Side two continues in the vein of side one. "Black Curse Upheld", much like the titular track, begins as an exercise in blast beats, then sharply transitions into a brief breakdown before assailing the listener with more satanic shrapnel. The song continues to gallop and trudge until its second breakdown, a molasses thick drip of dirty strings and, surprisingly, Bill Stevenson-on-side two of "My War"-style tribal simplicity (though to be fair Antinom does pick up the pace rhythm-wise toward the end of the track). "Throat of the Grey Watcher" then continues in this direction, with one exception. Unlike the previous tracks, "Throat" starts minus blast, pounding its way into a frenzy until all of the elements that make the EP so effective coalesce into organized chaos . Furthermore, more than any other song on the EP, there are multiple musical passages compressed in the small span of the song, an oroboros which eventually returns to the beginning's musical elements. From there the song then re-enters the slowly swirling maelstrom of doomy black death that Vasaeleth so effectively embody, closing on a breathtakingly heavy bad vibe. All in all, this EP shows merely a glimpse of what Vasaeleth have in store for us. Though brilliant, the release is merely a taste of what is to come on their next release, a release I am highly anticipating. Plus, the album cover is f#$^ing bad@$$…really f#$^ing bad@$$.