Viles Vitae- IV

There’s been some hype surrounding the Portugese trio’s Viles Vitae debut release on
Caverna Abismal Records, and for legitimately good reason.  The EP is entitled IV in representation of the four cardinal elements and the music itself is intended to be ceremonial for the black magician.  This kind of camp mystic is something that is missing in a lot of modern black metal that, quite frankly, takes itself too seriously.  This is the kind of dark esotericism that drew me to black metal as a teenager.  Viles Vitae is doing it right with their dark image, kvlt album artwork, and occult focus.

The image is for nothing, however, if they don’t have the music to back it up. Fortunately, Viles Vitae brings it hard with their debut, which is a formidable work of dissonant, hate-filled art.  Lacking a bass player, IV is treble heavy, reminiscent of the old school second wave.  I wonder if the addition of a bass line would fill out the somewhat thin sound in some areas of the album.  This transgression is minor, however, and Viles Vitae seems to do just fine without a bass player.  The polishing of the production is limited, giving the EP a raw and hungry feel.

What stuck out to me were Vulturius’ vocals.  They have a tortured aura to them that feels genuine.  No screeching, Vulturius’ tone is more of an afflicted, emotion inducing wail.  The riffs are somewhat formulaic in parts and lacking in true originality, but they’re so expertly executed that their predictability is forgivable.  I really love the atmosphere this band creates.  Combining the melodic nature of their riffs with long intervals of nature inspired feedback really helped bring to life the ritualistic experience the band was striving for.

Each track on this album could stand alone.  The two tracks that stuck for me were Sunless Redeemer and Theory of Deconstruction, with their emotional atmosphere and captivating progressions.  Overall, Viles Vitae has a promising future playing orthodox black metal and this debut is a testament to that.  I’m excited for what’s to come from this band.

8/10

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Vomit of Doom- Magnus Cruelty

When I first started this blog four years ago, my intention was to support good underground bands that had been largely ignored, even by the underground metal elite. Obviously, the site has grown immensely since then, but today I’d like give a throwback to the early days of Underworld by supporting a great band that I haven’t heard anyone talk about on metal forums or at shows.  Argentinian thrashers, Vomit of Doom have been shrouded in obscurity since they formed back in 2009 and for no good reason.  The band kicks ass.

Aside from the fact that I love the band’s name, as it harkens back to a simpler time in heavy metal history, not so pretentious and reliant on medical dictionaries and esoteric grimiores, a time when Bill and Ted and Beavis and Butthead defined what it meant to rock, Vomit of Doom lives up to the coolness of their name by writing neck breaking unapologetic thrash.  Vomit of Doom describes their sound as blackened thrash.  I think these days, blackened thrash has just become a fall back genre for thrash bands that write uglier riffs and can’t be likened to the upbeat bay area sound that has defined the genre.  Not that we don’t love you Vio-Lence.

But Vomit of Doom has created a sound that’s truly old school.  While I don’t hear a huge blackened influence, there is definitely a rawness to their sound that’s reminiscent of extreme metal’s beginnings.  They sound like they came right out of 1987, not like they’re trying to.  They just are.  The band’s most recent EP, entitled Magnus Cruelty, can be compared to the sounds of early Sepultura, or Poison (the German band not the gay ass glam band).  There’s even hints of early death metal sprinkled in the sound, think Death or Possessed.   Tracks are short, generally under three minutes in length, and each one pummels the listener with pure, bludgeoning ferocity.

Vomit of Doom achieves their perfected aggressive sound with slightly dirty, lo-fi production, piercing solos, and sickening riffs that will punch you in the face.  L. Warpig Venomous Abominator’s vocals are absolutely disgusting, high-end growls that will leave you wanting more.  Adding to the band’s classic thrash repertoire is the anthemic quality of each song.  This is definitely the kind of music to pound your fist to while screaming NO DIVINE!!! at the top of your lungs.  Every song on the album is memorable but the interlude in the middle left me, as an American listener confused. Other than that, Magnus Cruelty is practically a perfect old school thrash album, aggressive and fast as fuck.  Even the intro and the outro were perfectly tied in with the rest of album, only adding to the nostalgia of the band’s uniquely old school thrash sound.  But listen for yourself.  Happy listening.  Hails!

9/10

Decade of Death: An Interview with Jim Roe of The Primitive

Jim Roe

From iconic death metal gods Incantation, to Goreaphobia, Disciples of Mockery, Terror, Womb, and more; Jim Roe has drummed his way to legendary underground notariety.  There isn’t much going in the midwestern/east coast metal scene that Jim Roe hasn’t had his hand in.  With over two decades of experience under his belt, he has certainly built the impressive resume.  And thankfully for the fans, this workaholic shows no signs of slowing down.

Jim Roe’s current focus has been on his solo project, The Primitive, which he aptly describes as “pounding death metal”.  His EP “Founded in Hell” is an old school death metal fans’ wet dream with its blugeoning blasts and sickeningly heavy death metal riffs.  I chatted with Jim Roe to talk about his inspiration for The Primitive, his involvement with Terror, and his plans for the future.  This is what he had to say.

Underworld– You have quite a lengthy heavy metal resume. Tell the readers a little bit about your involvement in various bands. How has playing a variety of different styles of death and thrash metal influenced your writing?

Jim Roe– Yeah. I guess over the years I have played in some different death and thrash bands. I don’t think I approach it very differently. I just play. It seems to me whenever you create music with other people, you get a glimpse into how they view music and where they are coming from. I think everybody walks away with a different angle on music.  At least people that are open to it.

Jim Roe

Underworld– It’s definitely important for a musician to be adaptable.  So, cliche question, but who are your biggest influences as a musician?

Jim– Celtic Frost, Bonded by Blood era Exodus, Slayer, Death, Autopsy, Dark Angel. Other than death metal my earlier influences  would have to be Bill Ward – Black Sabbath, John Bonham- Led Zepplin, Ginger Baker – Cream, Blind Faith, Alice Cooper, Peter Criss- Kiss, Rock n Roll Over was a big influence when I was very young. Steve Gadds drumming on Steely Dan’s Aja really blew me away and still does.

Underworld– Nice!  A lot of great stuff there.  I’m a huge Kiss fan too.  So, tell the readers about your involvement with Terror. Are you still with the band?

Jim– Yes, I’m still working with the band.   Brian and J.J (RIP) have been friends of mine for many years. We have some shows coming up, June 9th in Detroit and June 10th in Chicago. I will be drumming for Terror. I played on the last 7” Hells Headbanger put out for Terror. We redid some classic Terror, Legions of Gore and Carving Techniques and we are talking about some recordings in the near future.

Underworld– That’s great to hear!  So, what brought on your interest in pursuing a solo project?

Jim– I just really love making music, making metal. Bands seem to come and go, at this point in life I have a little more time for music so learning more about music and playing more instruments and thinking of words and concepts is really great, it keeps me sane. Playing in a band when things are good is great, but when things are bad…its really bad. The Primitive, I can always do. It wont fall apart because four or five grown men can’t get along.

Goreaphobia

Underworld– That makes a lot of sense. I think fans of yours through Incantation, WOMB, Disciples of Mockery, Goreaphobia all knew you as a drummer. When did you start learning to play other instruments and do vocals?

Jim– Not too long ago, I would say when Goreaphobia started to go from everything being really great to everything being really bad. This was the time I started thinking I need to make my own music.

I had done a lot of contributing to the music with Goreaphobia, not the concepts or lyrics, however, because Chris is a master at that. At that time I couldn’t play guitar at all.  I had never tried but I would play the drums and when I did, a melody would kind of happen in my head from the pattern/rhythms I was playing. I would sing or hum these melodies to Alex, mostly, and he would work out the parts on the guitar.  Together, we would turn it into music.  The songs Apolcalyptic Necromancy, and a couple others were done entirely like this.

I had a big part in creating and writing music in all the bands that I have recorded with; WOMB, Incantation, DOM, Goreaphobia. So to do all this over and over again and then just have it all fall apart just gets exhausting. It seemed to me like the only thing to do was pick up the guitar and start trying to play those melody/rhythms myself. So to make a long story longer, I bought my first guitar in 2013.

Underworld– Wow!  You really picked up fast then!  You described Found in Hell by The Primitive as “Pounding Death Metal”. Tell the readers a little bit about what you mean by that.

Jim– I guess I am just aiming to play the type of metal I like; hard hitting, beating the crap out of the drum set death metal.

Underworld– Do you think The Primitive will ever have session musicians and play live?

Jim– Yes, I have two shows booked now for this June. The guys from Terror will be helping me get it done.

Underworld– Great!  So, what are your thoughts on the current Midwestern metal scene? A lot of musicians have complained the scene is waning. Do you think things could be looking up in the coming years?

Jim– To me the scene has always kinda been the same. People talk about the early 90s like the scene was so great, “The Glory Years”. I don’t remember it being much different then now. There are a lot more bands now but the shows are about the same.

Underworld– Finally, what can fans expect to hear from you in the coming months? Any shows?

Jim– Lots of music to come and hopefully many live shows. Cheers and thanks for the interview.  Metal!

You can purchase Founded in Hell and The Primitive at https://theprimitive.bandcamp.com/.  For now stay true!  Hails!