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Features Vault Picks

Vault Picks #20: March 27th, 2020

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.

To the Night Unknown
Released on September 7, 2018
Genre: Doom

To the Night Unknown is heavy. It also has lots of riffs. It has damn near all of the riffs, in fact. And it’s very, very heavy. Have I mentioned that? Heaviness and riffs. Heavy riffs, if you will. But more than this, it also has melodies, emotive depth, and long songs that suck you in and flatten you with…yes, you guessed it…heavy riffs. Morne’s fourth album is 67 minutes of well-crafted sludgy post-metal doooooom, and it crushes. Get this.

Nigel Holloway

Posthumous Regurgitation
Glorification of Medical Malpractice
Released on September 19th, 2019
Genre: Goregrind

I have to give it to this California-based group. Glorification of Medical Malpractice must be the best and most appropriate album title for a goregrind album ever. This second EP by them is a thick, nasty, and fun fifteen minutes of medical mishaps alongside blasting and heavy grooves. You can pick it up now on cassette and CD through Headsplit Records.

Kyle Messick

Released on February 14th, 2020
Genre: Prog Rock

There are plenty of bands emulating the sounds of 70s prog, but Hällas’ incorporation of AOR influences helps them stand out from the pack. Their second album, Conundrum, pushes these elements even further with a glossy production job that places greater emphasis on keyboards. The results could’ve sounded toothless, but they greatly serve the band’s conceptual approach. The songwriting is also catchy as hell, balancing the movie soundtrack drive of “Carry On” with the easygoing bounces of “Strider” and “Fading Hero.” Anybody looking for the spark of Styx or Electric Light Orchestra just might find it here.

Chris Latta

Prophets From The Occultic Cosmos
Released on August 2nd, 2019
Genre: Thrash

Don’t let the genre tag mislead you. Excuse are a thrash metal band at their base-level, but I wouldn’t anticipate beers and obvious mosh-licks. Last year, Excuse dropped their debut record Prophets From The Occultic Cosmos. It’s a technical work of six songs using extensive rhythmic intensity and somewhat melancholic leads that come in and out. There are some straightforward bangers as well, but this was, for the most part, a compelling listen filled with advanced musicianship. If you can get through weird transitions, then this is worth checking out.

Nichalas Edward

Released on May 31st, 2019
Genre: Progressive Grunge/Stoner Rock

An alternative version of Alice in Chains with proggy compositions, long songs, and that stoner atmosphere. This is a heavy, dark release that takes inspiration from many well-known heavy metal, grunge and progressive music acts and mashes it into a single box that contains awesome music. This band is constantly evolving and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Juani Núñez

Orphan Donor
Old Patterns
Released on March 13, 2020
Genre: Noise Rock/Grindcore

Before getting into anything else, let’s all take a second to appreciate what a fantastically messed up name this band has. Did you do it? Great, moving on!

When you think of a noisy claustrophobic album, you tend to assume it will just be raw, relentless blasting. Orphan Donor mastermind Jared Stimpfl (Secret Cutter’s Drummer) has instead created a polished, nuanced brand of madness where every instrument vies for attention while crowding the others in a symphony of discord. The guitars sound like they’ve been submerged in psychedelics while the entire album feels like it’s trying to run a 100-meter dash just as the edibles kick in. Stimpfl also recruited Cloud Collide’s Chris Pandolfo to contribute all vocals and he has stripped all sense of serenity that his usual music provides to deliver the most visceral performance of his career.

Spencer Hotz

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