Paul Hutchings explores the Blacker side of extreme metal, with the new debut album from Vulgaris!
37 minutes of crunching black metal goodness crawls out of the speakers. Maybe goodness is the wrong word to use, as this is a vile and filthy debut release from London based four-piece Vulgaris.
Intro ‘Causeway’ immediately spreads a disturbing atmosphere with its ghostly noises and feeling of impending doom. That is quickly dispelled by a ferocious riff combined with thundering drums and gravel-soaked screams as the band dive headfirst into opening song ‘Six-Rivers’. Vulgaris favour a full-frontal aural assault approach but are unafraid to throw in a smattering of melody which is laced throughout the album. ‘Six Rivers’ is a brave opening track. Riding in at just shy of nine minutes it ebbs and flows, explosive parts combined with more measured doom-laden passages, the guitar work visceral and dangerous as they flash in and out of the track.
Utilising sound effects and samples, Vulgaris roar quickly into ‘Separation Anxiety’, which thunders along at high velocity with an underlying groove that makes nodding the head compulsory; the swirling guitars exploding into a semi-Motörhead style. It’s here that you realise that there is more to Vulgaris than a run of the mill black metal outfit, with the wild, almost uncontrollable feel blending more influences. Hell, there’s even some rock n’ roll in the mix. ‘Lucid Screaming’ blends Iron Maiden-esque duelling guitar work with a death metal feel; I’m not sure how well this track works overall but it adds to the variation.
The mix is a challenge. It may well be that the review copy is yet to have the final application of lacquer. One can only hope so, because whilst the current style adds an old -school flavour, it does mean that when the band are racing along at top speed, things get a bit fuzzy and blurred. J Michael’s vocals vary in style and delivery, with the more frenetic bursts less appealing that the more measured roars. Yet, the gritty, raucous feel of the album is one of the more attractive elements of ‘Asundre’. Like nails down the blackboard this gets under the skin and is likely to interest those who are looking for a continuation of the blackened death metal that has made a resurgence in recent years.
Vulgaris – Asundre is released on the 26th February on BandCamp HERE