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Beneath the Vault Reviews

Beneath the Vault #13: License to Riff

Welcome to Beneath the Vault, a column in which we take a brief look at the many review requests we get from bands that aren’t always fortunate enough to afford a promotional campaign or the backing of a big record label. Whether you like your music like you like your coffee or prefer listening to groovy tunes with headphones and some smoke, we’ve got you covered with these underground treasures. If you’re a band and would like a review or a spot in this column, click here to put in a request.

Orthostat - Monolith of TimeOrthostat
Monolith of Time
Released on January 4, 2019 
Genre: Death Metal

This three-piece from Brazil have crafted an intelligently-composed album that takes a core of heavy death metal and adds to it elements of crushing doom and some quirky, unexpected structures and riffs. For a quick and easy reference point think of a band like Incantation with a hint of Immolation in some of the melodies. This should only be seen as a starting point, however, while also realising that Orthostat do, thankfully, inject their own personality into the material. Monolith of Time is an enjoyable and well-written slab of death metal that has substantial depths as well as instant-appeal brutality. (Nigel)

Killtek - VolitionKilltek
Released on February 7, 2019 
Genre: Metalcore

Killtek play Fear Factory-influenced cyber metal, and they’re quite good at what they do. The music is nicely aggressive and full of muscular riffs and electronic enhancements. Their industrial-edged metal has a good production and professional delivery, and it’s clear that the band have refined and polished their sound since their 2017 EP Remains of Society. Killtek play heavy, brutal cybercore that creates emotive cyberscapes through the music alone; the vocals are mainly all shouts and anger, as you’d probably largely want from something like this. Killtek’s keyboard-enriched metallic hardcore is an enjoyably brutal way to spend 43 minutes, and I like the fact that they manage to inject emotion into what they do without resorting to inserting clean vocals on every single chorus. Check this out. (Nigel)

Revenant Marquis - Pitiless Black EmphasisRevenant Marquis
Pitiless Black Emphasis
Released on September 4, 2018
Genre: Raw Black Metal

Just a quick glance at the album cover of this release should tell you a lot about its content. Yes, yes; don’t judge a book by its cover, etc., but sometimes a cover can be instructive. Even here though, it can mislead. This is raw, underground black metal for sure, but of a type that’s deliberately ultra-obscure and utterly, uncompromisingly rotten and foul. It sounds like Pitiless Black Emphasis has been recorded through a thick fog of darkness, while a daemonic entity howls and growls straight into your mind. This is likely to be too extreme, too underground, too uncompromisingly inaccessible to all but the most hardened of blackened connoisseurs, but I’m guessing that’s precisely the intention of the artist. If you can handle the sound of the songs, then there’s a certain atmosphere to be enjoyed here, especially via some of the guitar riffs and twisted melodies. Try this one on for size if you dare. (Nigel)

Caustic Casanova - The Pantheon Collection Volumes 1-3Caustic Casanova
The Pantheon Collection: Volumes 1-3
Released on November 30, 2018
Genre: Psychedelic Rock

This is a compilation release, of sorts. As can be inferred from the title, this contains three EPs originally released over the course of about 4 years. A collection of reworkings of old Caustic Casanova songs and cover songs, (Pentagram, Melvins, Weedeater), this is an eclectic and enjoyable way to get to know Caustic Casanova’s personable and charismatic brand of rock and roll. Considering the time between the releases contained on this album everything flows together well and the tracks work well as a holistic collection. With a style that mixes psychedelic rock, noise rock, and punk into an enjoyable mash of colour and vibrant energy, (not to mention a wealth of different instrumentation and vocals), The Pantheon Collection: Volumes 1-3 is highly recommended for fans of engaging psych rock and kicking jams. Plus, the cover features a cosmic cow with bananas for horns. How cool is that? (Nigel)

Ishia - Winter - Indy Metal VaultIshia
Released on February 1st, 2019
Genre: Post Hardcore

Ishia’s Winter has turned out to be one of the more notable releases of 2019 and a strong album-of-the-year contender. On their first full-length, the Indianapolis group have put together a dense and well-calculated mashup of progressive, melodic, and hardcore that’s not only distinct but surprisingly catchy. Thanks to the dynamic composition of each track, no part wears out its welcome for too long before morphing into something else. It also doesn’t hurt that they’ve got Corey Clark from two of my favorite bands Drude and Summon the Destroyer on bass whose added accents really compliment their compositions. This is certainly a group I encourage everyone to check out and keep tabs on, and if they continue along this path, I expect them to be a standout act from our fair state. If you listen to only one album that I mention in this column this year, make sure it’s this one. (Bryan)

Warp - Indy Metal VaultWarp
Released on February 15th, 2019
Genre: Stoner Rock

Stoner rock with a vintage flair from Tel Aviv that’s firmly rooted in Sabbathy worship in all its glory. While it’s a genre that’s often derivative, it’s still highly enjoyable when executed right. And that’s what Warp have done with their self-titled album by not only paying homage to Black Sabbath, but also to the bands that influenced the legendary act. Everything adds up to one monumental slab of groovy tunes rooted in classic blues with the riffs, the bass, the drums and hell, even the guitar tone being spot on. The band might not be re-inventing the genre, but their devotion to it has produced one of the best takes I’ve heard in a long time. Highly recommended! (Bryan)

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