When I first heard Ontario's Vile Creature I couldn't believe they'd only been playing together a couple of months, and that drummer Vic had never even pounded a kit until 6 months ago. That they've already recorded some awesome doom ditties, self-released 'em on tape, and are currently on a decent wee tour of their neighbouring environs (lurking in the grimm griminess of Brooklyn as I type) is pretty damn cool. I dig bands that throw themselves into what they do with gusto and DIY spirit.
When I then found out they describe themselves as 'Anti-Oppressive, Queer as Fuck Doom Metal', and had Adam Tucker master their recording just because they loved his outstanding work on Thou's Heathen (the greatest album of the past year), I was fully sold. I threw some cash at them immediately and got this cool stuff in return.
Opening their first recording with 16-minutes of atmospheric-yet-aggressive doom, 'I: A Constant Yearning To Leave' lets you know Vile Creature ain't fucking around here. The riffs are distended to breaking point, but never to the detriment of the track; there's enough dynamism in there to hold you rapt until the vocals kick in. Vocalist/guitarist KW's impressive bellow is underpinned by guitar playing that doesn't just stick to drawing out the space between notes, but employs a wide array of textures and tones to great effect.
The influence of Heathen is directly audible through much of A Steady Descent Into The Soil, with the more crushing doom sections tempered with extended passages of plaintive prettiness, the contrasting styles offsetting one another perfectly. This is especially apparent during the opening minutes of second track 'II: Motivated By Guilt' which utilises a similar style of repeating guitar motif. KW's feral howl of "I WILL FIND YOU!" when it finally arrives is nothing short of bone-chilling. Jeepers.
The title track begins with some unusual guitar work (well, within a doom metal context at least) before they bring the heavy once more with some ultraslow riffage and massive cymbal crashes. There's plenty of slow/little-less-slow, loud/little-less-loud dynamics throughout, with some wonderfully exploratory passages where it feels like they might not quite know where they're going, but it's going to be so worthwhile when they get there. The multi-tracked clean vox which arrive towards the end are downright unsettling, somewhat appropriate considering the discernible lyrics are "Take my organs / take my blood flow / strip the flesh / from my brittle broken bones".
As the tape fades into feedback, I once again shake my damn head that these guys have only been playing together for such a short time. If they keep at it, I'm pretty fucking excited to see where they go from here.
You can get A Steady Descent Into The Soil as a pay-what-ya-want download from their bandcamp, but I highly recommend springing for some goodies from their bigcartel. They have patches, posters, shirts, the whole shebang. For anyone who might be reading this from the US, you can grab copies with cheaper shipping from the ever-killer Broken Limbs.
You can also check out a pretty in-depth interview with the duo at Full Metal Hipster, where they talk about Bell Witch being great, say funny things to their cats, delve into their anti-oppressive stance, and generally come across as cool folks.
Vile Creature on Bandcamp | Facebook | Tumblr