Band: Vile Apparition
Titled: Depravity Ordained
Label: Memento Mori (CD) / Blood Harvest Records (LP and MC)
Release 21st January 2019
Format reviewed: Digital Promo
Another week rolls on, and another band is discovered whilst digging around the digital vaults of the BAZ stockroom from the opposite side of the planet; from Australia once more. It’s quickly becoming apparent there’s a rapidly growing and (to the rest of the world) unknown scene that’s evolving just as well as the unique flora and fauna and other strangeness that is solely unique to Australia itself. In all honesty, the rest of the world needs to know more about this, as it seems there’s some great metal bands over there that shouldn’t be kept a secret any longer.
Enter VILE APPARITION, from Melbourne. The band was formed after Sewercide called it a day, with Jamie Colic on bass/guitar and vocals, and Oliver Ballentyne on drums who then recruited Dave Kearns on bass, and Dan Harris on guitars from the sludge/doom metal band Horsehunter to complete the band’s line up – when it expanded from a project to be a fully fledged four piece entity. The band released their ‘Atrocious Captivity’ demo in 2017 independently, and a split EP with Incinerator in 2018 – which then caught the attention of Memento Mori who are due to release their new album “Depravity Ordained” on the January 21st on Bandcamp, and on “physical media” via CD release for those who enjoy having albums on shiny laser read discs.
What becomes immediately apparent upon playback of this album is that VILE APPARITION are a different style of death metal to Sewercide, moving away from the early Kreator-esque style to something that’s more comparable to vintage Immolation, Suffocation, Cryptopsy and to a latter extent Ripping Corpse – as first defined on their debut demo. You can certainly tell the band have matured and settled considerably with their line up – like the sonic equivalent of allowing a pheasant carcass to ripen before it meets the dinner table. ‘Mauled and Nameless’ is a perfect case in point as a well executed opener; guitars slash through the air with enthusiasm, with searing lead solos and crisp drumming, even though fussy listeners will point out that the snare drums are somewhat tinny. Then again, such things are a churlish complaint as the album clearly wears its 1990s old school death metal influences upon its sleeve, with a sense of pride – in that context “it is, what it is”.
The title track “Depravity Ordained” comes across like a genetic experiment between “Effigy of the Forgotten” era Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse’s “Butchered at Birth”, if the production of those albums was polished up to modern day standards, the pummelled drums adding as a perfect backbone to the track making it one of the catchier tunes on the album; whilst “Dissect To Enucleate” will have death metal veterans doing a double take, in some ways can be argued it’s too close to a lost Suffocation track – whether this is a bad thing will vary wildly from listener to listener, and the whole sonic theme continues throughout the album to the end. Describing this album without the words “emulation”, “similar to”, or “will remind you of…” will be a challenge for the most discerning metal fans; the basic problem with most death metal bands is critics will deem the genre to be a creative cul-de-sac, as it takes something extremely exemplary to stand head and shoulders above everybody past and present to make people take notice. The album would’ve gained itself an extra point if the bonus tracks from the ‘Atrocious Captivity’ demo were omitted, as it takes it beyond the 45 minute mark; the unwritten rule for creating the perfect death metal album – the continuity is somewhat tainted, with the muddy production at odds with the new material.
Then again, maybe this album, in particular, shouldn’t be taken too seriously and to be enjoyed it for what it is? Something as a quick fix to leap around to, flailing your hair and stage diving from your sofa. In that context, ‘Depravity Ordained’ fits the bill perfectly, and there’s no doubt the band will be a blast to see live. Sometimes, you just need something to be comfortable and familiar, reminding you of good old times – like buying a Ford Cortina. Does it set the road on fire at the traffic lights? No. Does it have power steering, electric windows, airbags and climate control? No, and why the hell would you want that from it anyway? We live in a crazy frantic world, and bands like Vile Apparition may just be what the doctor ordered – as the simpler things in life are often easier to enjoy. 7/10 Goth Mark
7/10 Victory is possible
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.