Band: Vantablack Warship
Album: Abrasive Pulmonic Speak
Release Date: 26 January, 2018
So, I like the cover a lot.
This is the first full-length Vantablack Warship has released, following their self-title EP from 2015, and it features some pummeling guitar work, deep bass thump, and plenty of thrashy drums. What is doesn’t really have are songs that I cared much for. Composed of members from Montreal bands Arseniq33, Ghoulunatics, Brutal Chérie, Foreshadow, les Ekorchés,
Buffalo Theory Mtl., there is a lot of metal pedigree going on here, and everyone included show great proficiency at their instruments, but there’s little to recommend beyond that. They try hard, and they do rock, but almost nothing stuck with me after repeated listens. Almost.
The album opens with strangled-vocal rocker, “Another Dead Rockstar” and it’s a decent enough track. It moves and grooves and there’s lots of humor to be found in the lyrics, but when it was over, I couldn’t say much about it except those vocals, which were something else. I honestly didn’t like them at first but after many spins, they grew on me. They will definitely be a divisive matter for many fans, I think. Give it a bit, though, and it will grow on you.
The rest of the album follows in a blur. It’s a pretty brief release, clocking in at just under 25 minutes, so the boys here don’t overstay their welcome. They come in, rock out, and get out. I love the title of song number two (“Black Tongue Bertha”) but don’t care much for the song itself. “Blood on the Mat” really brings the thunder and I think achieves what the band were setting out to do. It really does rock and I could totally see this one being a live favorite. Mosh pits will be twisting and slamming to this one. As far as everything else goes? Meh. I feel like I’ve heard it all before and while it doesn’t stand out, it also doesn’t stink. These guys know what they’re doing and they deliver, but it’s all a haze, and nothing really stands out.
Except for the closer, “Crisis.”
Man, there was something about this one that really got me. First, it’s heavy, and I love that rumbling drum at the beginning. I love the way the riffs build and build and then come crashing down. This one stomps in slow-motion, which is a nice switch-up from what came before. I don’t want to call this one “Doom” but I’ll be damned if it’s not at least fringed with it. It’s definitely got some nice sludge to it, and the sloth-like grind reeks with an authority that I don’t feel much of the rest of the album earns (besides “Blood on the Mat”). This one has grit and heft and it’s definitely a direction I would love to see this band continue in.
All in all, this album is no failure, but it certainly doesn’t do much other than be average. If you take off the two tracks “Blood on the Mat” and “Crisis,” this wouldn’t rate much more than a four or five, but those two songs definitely bump the number up a couple of notches. I would encourage the band to really stoke the power of the two stand-out tracks and explore what makes them work and expand on that for their repertoire. There is plenty of room for their crossover/thrash style to accommodate these flourishes. In fact, the talent is there for this band to excel. I’m looking forward to seeing where they go from here.
1. Another Dead Rockstar
2. Black Tongue Bertha
3. Blood On The Mat
4. Kill The Kid
6. Abrasive Pulmonic Speak
7. The Blackhole
Total Playing Time: 24:45