Label: 20 Buck Spin
Release date: 25/10/2019
To quote Boris the Blade from Guy Ritchie’s legendary movie Snatch, “I like heavy. Heavy is reliable. If it doesn’t work, you can always hit him with it.” In the movie, Boris is talking about the gun he is trying to sell. In this instance, I am talking about one of the most reliable (keep that word in mind) death metal bands in the last decade, Vastum. Lot has happened since their 2011 debut Carnal Law, namely the release of one critically-acclaimed album after another. Now they are back with another tentatively-titled slab of death.
I don’t know how familiar you are with the term “cavern death” but it refers to a style of death metal that sounds like it was recorded deep in a cavern somewhere. Vastum certainly fits the bill. What you get is murky, chunky, down tuned death riffs laid on top of ugly, thick bass, pounding drums from the deep and the phlegm-laden deep growls that tie the bow. In this respect, Orificial Purge does not mark a departure from the classic Vastum sound, though I will say that the production is a touch cleaner than that of their contemporaries, which is a plus, as it makes the excellent performances across the board shine.
Content-wise, Orificial Purge offers Vastum’s regular bag of tricks that consists of above-mid-tempo tracks of considerable girth. There are few departures from what you’d expect, but there are some. For instance, Abscesses Inside Us is less concerned with festering beauty as it is with more angular -dare I say technical- riffage; I On the Knife (Second Wound) is also home to some tasty morsels next to typical fanfare of, say, Dispossessed Rapture.
Therein lies the main issue of Orificial Purge. The thing about being the “old reliable” (told you to keep it in mind) is that all too often you see a new album by them and you know exactly what you are in for. It’s a double-edged sword: on one hand, you will find a certain level of quality that you are comfortably accustomed to. On the other, you will not be finding anything new or exciting. Such is the bane that plagues Orificial Purge. The songs all remind you of and sound like they belong to a previous release, in this case a mash-up of Patricidal Lust and Hole Below. Then there are specific moments, like in I On the Knife (Second Wound) or His Sapphic Longing, that ring so familiar that you start thinking about what song this used to be.
The only way out of this rut is to excel at what you do, which Vastum certainly does. Their blend of nasty, cavernous, ugly, subterranean death metal is as filthy as it ever was and Orificial Purge is a worthy addition to their disgustingly artful, fetidly beautiful discography (a praise that was worth every adverb, I assure you.)
Daniel Butler – vocals
Leila Abdul-Rauf – guitars, vocals
Shelby Lermo – guitars
Luca Indrio – bass
Chad Gailey – drums
01. Dispossessed Rapture (First Wound)
02. I On the Knife (Second Wound)
03. Abscesses Inside Us
04. Orificial Purge
05. Reveries in Autophagia
06. His Sapphic Longing