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.
Released on May 17th, 2019
Generally, I tend to gravitate towards the spookier, horror-laced synthwave, and I’m certainly no expert on the genre in general. But man if this album isn’t a good one! Com Truise has been around for a while and has a pretty decent following, but no album until Persuasion System sat exponentially well with me. The layers of keys create such a relaxing atmosphere that it’s easy to get lost in, and the added pianos on occasion act as a colorful topping. Most importantly, it isn’t too long, as a genre like this isn’t as easy to consume in large portions (at least for me). But anyone new to synthwave, this is a great starter disc.
Imperfect Like a God
Released on December 10th, 2003
Genre: Death Metal
My Adventures of Indiana Man column takes me to Poland this week, and while I’m there, I plan on attending a show with headliners Trauma, the long-running Polish death metal band that is largely regarded as one of the best bands in the scene there. Over the course of their three-decade career, they’ve incorporated the brutal staples of death metal into a framework that maintains a focus on melody and technical guitar playing but without ever losing sight of death metal’s foundation. The music is vicious and intense, but it also shows off the abilities of the incredibly talented musicians through beautiful, virtuosic passages that are seamlessly integrated into their songs..
Reflections of Horror
Released August 23rd, 2019
Genre: Death metal
Sacramento death metal horror-hounds Abysmalist released their first demo on Caligari Records recently, and it’s a tasty blood feast for OSDM fanatics. Abysmalist may be spawned from death metal’s early history—especially between the release of Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart and Tampa’s golden age—but they never reek of shallow mimicry. While their tempos swing from cavernous doom (“Black Lacquer”) to Bay Area crust (“Chain Ripper”), Abysmalist unify it all with an ear for midnight-movie atmospherics. I’m definitely keeping this project on my radar for future releases.
Released on August 2nd, 2019
Who would have guessed that we’d have two synthwave picks in one post, but honestly I probably dipped back into the genre after checking out Com Truise’s new one per Nick’s recommendation above. While Com Truise’s sound is more inspired by 80s action movies, Wofl Club’s slice of synth is more akin to the dramadies of the same period but with a poppier indie rock slant. Their fourth studio album Frontiers is packed with 80s retro summer tunes full of irresistible melodies and an impressive array of vocalists that help mix it up quite a bit. Highlights include the opener “Electrify” and the retro 80s prom track “Purity.” Hit the open road with this one.
Desert Near the End
Of Fire and Stars
Released on March 22, 2019
Genre: Death/Thrash Metal
I’ll always be stunned at how little attention Desert Near the End gets. As I type this, their Spotify page boasts a whopping 36 monthly listeners and YouTube videos for certain songs on this album are sitting in the single digits. That’s absurd because these guys rip something fierce. Their style is ostensibly “death/thrash” but they achieve this by blending death metal drumming, abrasive screams, and Iced Earth riffs, so there’s an undercurrent of power/trad metal in here as well. It turns out that blending hyperspeed triplet gallops and searing harmonies with blast beats is the raddest thing in the world and there shouldn’t be only 35 people worldwide besides me jamming it frequently.