The Pitch: California black, death, and doom band VRTRA now have their 2016 masterpiece on 12" 180gr Vinyl via Sentient Ruin. FFO: Altar of Plagues, Blut Aus Nord, Lord Mantis
What I Like: Start to finish, this is just a stunning album. Either quite purposefully or through some unholy pact, these three tracks have a perfect flow both within their notable runtimes and across the overall release. There is a mastery on display regarding guitar melodies that are equal parts expansive, introspective, and highly sinsiter. This last element is of course aided to no end by the grim vocal performance. Finding a perfect midpoint between black metal, sludge, and death; these reverb-heavy howls are extremely powerful. I don't know what's being said, but I feel compelled to hang on their every word. And the pacing...exquisite. Gigantic, booming doom chords and atmospheric leads will give way to ferocious double-bass and wailing, churning, technical riffs; an approach that reminds me of everything from Lord Mantis' Pervertor to Deathspell Omega and Ulcerate. There's no room to feel bored or berated at any given moment, and that's thanks to a truly compelling handle on dynamics, variety, and timing.
What I Don't Like: Nothing. Go about your business and I'll try not to track dirt on the floor.
The Verdict: An album I missed when it first dropped last year, but one that would have assuredly ended up on one of my year end lists. If you missed it as well or have been looking to pick up a physical copy, now is the time to act. Buy the vinyl version HERE.
Flight's Fav's: The Cold Suffocating Dark Goes On Forever