August 19, 2014

The Proselyte - Our Vessel's in Need

Written by Justin C.

I bought The Proselyte's 2011 album, Sunshine, shortly after it came out, and it's never left the music collection on any of my iDevices. Given the amounts of music I churn through--and Apple's stubborn refusal to provide me with a 1-terabyte iPhone--that's no easy feat. Now, after what seems like far too long, The Proselyte are back with a new EP, Our Vessel's in Need. They play a brand of stonery/sludgey metal that will appeal to fans of bands like Sandrider and Torche. The Proselyte skew a bit darker than those two bands, but even so, they're an excellent example of how a band can be heavy and substantial but still fun.

Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

Vocals range from soulful cleans and harmonies up to a throat-shredding snarl, and the cool part is that they hit all the points in between. You can hear the snarl being ramped up in the opener, "End's Regions." There are great vocal harmonies throughout, like the soft-heavy moment in the middle of "Existential Risk." The guitar, bass, and drums are putting out some of the most thundering and aggressive sounds on the EP, but then you suddenly hear Ask and you shall receive... being crooned. It's reminiscent of one of my favorite tracks on Sunshine, "Slaw." It's another stomping tune that stops midway and breaks into a chorus of, While you wait, here's the sunshine! I'm always a sucker for a well done light-heavy contrast. On paper, a quick change between filthy sludge and a downright cheery singalong shouldn't work, but it does for The Proselyte. It's also a great reminder that although a catharsis might leave you with bloodied knuckles, crumpled in the corner, it could also make you want to drive really fast on a sunny day, grinning ear to ear and howling along with some bitchin' tunes. tunes.

Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

EP closer "A Stubborn Hem" is a bit of a departure from the other songs. The running time pushes into the six-minute territory, in contrast to the mostly three- to four-minute tracks that precede it, and the band slows down to a doomy, sinister crawl. It's a great showcase for the rhythm section--any time you get audible AND interesting bass lines from a metal band, a demon gets its wings--and there are some fantastic, Alice in Chains-type vocal harmonies creeping throughout. It's also a great example of a band stretching out their style template without sounding like a completely different band. It's a haunting ending to the EP, and hopefully a tantalizing preview of more to come.

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