November 12, 2013

Vastum - Patricidal Lust

By Andy Osborn.

Artwork by Paolo Girardi

Vastum are a revelation. The crust-tinged, mid-tempo death metal they play sounds only mildly interesting when described on paper, but the way they package and present their form of crushing aural chaos is nothing short of brilliant. Back-and-forth male to female vocals is something normally reserved for cheesy gothic bands but the Bay Area filth-mongers use it to add a dynamic normally not seen in the genre. The odd solo or bridge coax out the melody hidden beneath the band's thick trill-filled riffs, pulling them out of the gutter just long enough to cleanse your palate of the toxic fumes. Songs pound and stomp ever-forward, beating all in their path mercilessly into pulp and beyond. And while these characteristics were evident on their 2011 debut, Carnal Law, every aspect has been honed and improved upon in Patricidal Lust.

Vastum 2010. Photo by Taylor Keahey.

The clarified production makes the album slightly less filthy than its predecessor, that is, until you look at the album art or lyrics. The band spews forth tales of sexual perversion and the mental anguish that goes with it, a much more serious approach than the comically gore-splattered works found in the book of USDM cliches. And such abject reading material requires an appropriately toxic soundtrack, and Vastum deliver with this deadly serious piece of mind-fuckery.

Vastum 2010. Photo by Taylor Keahey.

Albums that remain at more or less the same tempo can make for tough listening, but Vastum end the ritual before any hint of monotony; each track is perfectly placed and adds a new twist on their unique, defined sound. They know what they want to create, and they create the hell out of it. Battling line-up changes and tragedy - producer Jeff Davis was killed in a motorcycle accident halfway through recording - it’s lucky the band even managed to keep alive this piece depravity worship. But the gods of the gutter were smiling upon them, and with their blessing present us with one of 2013’s finest slabs of death metal.

Tagged with 20 Buck Spin, 2013, Andy Osborn, death metal, Taylor Keahey, Vastum
  1. Props to Taylor for the photos, especially the first one. That is intense.

    I think the major difference between this and "Carnal Law" is simple: they got better.

    The tempo shifts seem to be slight at best. This might be a problem if they were playing a more plodding style of death metal, but for the majority of the record (really, every track aside from "Incel"), they keep it lively and the rhythms are consistently engaging. I don't think that can be overstated, really. The leads are also a nice change of pace.

    If I have one nitpick, it's with the label for not including the liner notes.

    1. It would definitely be cool if including the liner notes with bandcamp downloads became standard practice. I always appreciate it when they're included.

    2. I so agree. But not necessarily as a download. A well "filled-out" Bandcamp page with lyrics for all songs, complete credits, and notes and stuff is fine with me.

    3. I guess either would be fine, though in this case we got neither. Oops.

    4. No promises or anything, but Dave/20 Buck Spin has read your comments and said "I am gonna give that some thought and figure out a solution before too long"

    5. Yeah, those pics really capture their show and Vastum are INTENSE live. Daniel stomps and jumps around like a madman, I got knocked over have a dozen times by him coming off stage and barreling into people. It was both terrifying and unbearably fun.

  2. Yeah, where can I read the lyrics?