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Features Vault Picks

Vault Picks #6: May 24th, 2019

In the spirit of the staff suggestions featured in record shops and old-school video stores (RIP), we share our Vault Picks. It’s a chance to venture beyond Indy Metal Vault’s premieres and reviews for a glimpse into other recent releases the staff have been jamming in their secluded lairs. From extreme underground oddities to non-metal recommendations and guilty pleasures, unlock our newest bevy of Vault Picks below.

Angel Bat Dowid - The Oracle - Indy Metal VaultAngel Bat Dawid
The Oracle
Released on February 8th, 2019
Genre: Spiritual Jazz

Here’s a good one for the jazz fans out there. Chicago composer Angel Bat Dawid’s new label debut came out in February, and I’ve been listening to it ever since. The Oracle feels like an extremely personal work of art that intensifies or de-escalates based on how Dawid plays; since she plays all the instruments and it’s largely improvised, Dawid’s mercurial personality is everywhere on display. This album was recorded entirely on Dawid’s cell phone at various locations around the world, but most of the sessions were played in the attic of a mansion on the south side of Chicago. The embedded track is a calmer moment on the album, but be ready for heavy themes and some Beefheartian vocal performances. Avant-garde jazz isn’t always easy listening, but you’re metal fans: if you can headbang to Gorguts, you can sit and marvel at Angel Bat Dawid.

Ian Lovdahl

Funereal Presence - Achatius - Indy Metal VaultFunereal Presence
Released February 15th, 2019
Genre: Black Metal

You know how black metal and fun are words that aren’t legally allowed in one sentence? Well sometimes laws need to change and Funereal Presence is here to state their case. Sure, their Bandcamp page references black metal being “cold”, “grotesque” and all those other good terms, but their style and production has more in common with the fiery warmth and energy of Mercyful Fate than it does the grim frostbitten hostility of Immortal. These riffs come with the 70’s classic rock influence of the first wave of black metal chock full of leads that will make you pump your fist and chug a beer. Hell, there’s even cowbell on multiple songs – a surefire sign of fun. If you can’t enjoy this as a metalhead, then you have most certainly broken the oath!

Spencer Hotz

Valley of Shadows
Released May 17th, 2019
Genre: Hard Rock

On 2017’s Witchbanger LP, Austin rockers Duel brought the fuzz and the scuzz. There’s a reason they’re on Heavy Psych Sounds; distortion is vocalist/guitarist Tom Frank’s medium of choice and his riffs could grow a beard on a baby. But Valley of Shadows pushes their skull-rattling stoner doom vibes closer to the contagious choruses of trad metal and the NWOBHM. Front to back, this record is stacked with sing-along hooks and thrilling songwriting. I dare you not to punch the sky when the mid-song simmer of “Drifting Alone” and “Strike of Disappear” each erupt into volcanic rock fury. When Duel played at the Melody Inn recently and I was even able to catch my new seasonal anthem “Black Magic Summer” in person. I have a running list of my favorite records of the year, and this one is sitting atop the throne right now.

Sean Frasier

Rhian Sheehan - A Quite Divide - Indy Metal VaultRhian Sheehan
A Quiet Divide
Released on October 5th, 2018
Genre: Ambient Electronic

Ambient soundscape – two words that completely sum up the sonic mountain built from the ground up by neo-classical, post-rock, electronic master Rhian Sheehan. On previous albums, Sheehan delved deep into heavy electronic tonal soundscapes, “A Quiet Divide” ventures fully into the more classical sounds of Phillip Glass or even Steve Reich. Apparently, forty musicians were working on this, making it more than a simple electronic ambient album. It is soft and quiet at times and forceful and tonal at others. It seems to reflect the vastly changing landscape of Sheehan’s New Zealand home; as do all his albums.

Tim Arnold

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