Monday, November 22, 2010

Arts-Vault of Heaven Review

My review of this was cut out of this months Razorcake (but several others are in the magazine written by me, check it out), so here is the long version.

Arts are one of the best kept secrets in a genre that prides itself in it’s ability to remain clandestine. From the opening song on their debut LP, “Sword Blood Dripping on the Death Shadow”, the record is a disturbing battery of noise. The blazing riffs lend themselves more to 90s hardcore than they do black metal, and the production aesthetic, while rough, is much cleaner than most BM releases.

The speed and agility of the band to play off each other through the changes in tempo is engrossing, but the recording has a sense of urgency and drama derived from the loose structure of the songs. When the band hits the midterm dirge of “Astral Pathways Channeled Over a Purified Lake”, the recording feels like it’s going to fall apart at any moment, and it does fall hard into a remission before a quick 4 count on dead strings and bombarding the listener with “Funeral Shrill of Adonej”, which features a raunchy, deadly VENOM inspired chorus riff.

The violin that opens the B side is legitimately creepy, as is the noise outro of “The Magus”. The noise and feedback give the sound a dated feel, but lend credibility to mood. The vocals are a constant shriek of indiscernible syllables and the liner notes come across as heavy handed, but this is isn’t campy like Price’s “House on Haunted Hill”. It’s more wryly aware and still subtly violent like “I Bury the Living”.

The artwork comes printed on a four corner fold-over sleeve that covers the LP, inside a printed inner jacket. The record is out of print through Youth Attack, but available from Dr. Strange, Interpunk, Reckless, and many other on line distros.

Buy it on Interpunk

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