Irish metallers Vile Regression are no strangers to acclaim, their debut release coming under eager praise but you can only feel that it was fore play for a much stronger and fevered attention once new EP Empires consumes ears. The release is a stunning onslaught of sonic voracity forged in the imagination of technical metal and ferocity of extreme metal in its broadest diversity. The band has inspired comparisons to the likes of Death, Opeth, and Gojira, and listening to Empires it is understandable but whereas at times other technically fired bands bewitch with their skills before falling into indulgences, Vile Regression sculpt real slabs of brutal invention. Their tracks are built on riffs and grooves which come with lethal hooks and melodic tempting, all aspects treated with the same love and attention as the technical alchemy at work. This is openly evident in Empires, a clutch of songs which leave ears gloating and passions bulging.
The seeds of the Dublin band began back in 2007 when brothers Barry (guitar) and Kenn Christie (bass) formed a band which went under a few names for early demos until settling as Visitor Q and releasing a debut EP to strong responses. 2010 saw the addition of drummer Robb Behan and the band name changing to Vile Regression. The Pattern Evolves EP was unveiled the following year to, as mentioned, keen critical praise, its success leading to the band landing support slots with bands such as Dyscarnate and Fleshgod Apocalypse. A line-up change saw vocalist Padraig Croke and guitarist Brian Brady joining the brothers and Behan in 2013, which was followed by a support slot with Unearth and subsequently the recording of Empires. It has been a strong rise for the band over the years but with the new release it would be hard to be surprised if the band now found itself to the fore of extreme metal such its triumph.
Ears are immediately challenged as opener Tides confronts their anticipation, thumping rhythms grabbing instant attention to which swirling sonic endeavour sparks the imagination. It is a potent lure which evolves into a fiercely rousing tempest as the swipes of Behan trigger a maelstrom of bass intimidation, raging vocals, and senses binding sonic causticity. It is a dramatic and feverish incitement which never loses its irresistible lure even under the cascading, creatively carnivorous technical exploration of the band. It is a seamless union, one as mentioned which feels united in every intent rather than elements trying to outshine others. Between the Buried and Me comes to mind during the track but only as a spice to something scintillatingly original.
The following Raze the Complexity similarly needs little time to inflame the senses, guitars dancing seductively and with agitated endeavour across ears as the grouchy growls of Croke spill hope linked animosity. It is increasingly magnetic bait which only increases its toxicity as the guitars flirt with the imagination through ingenious designs and craft. Just as masterfully contagious though are the merciless and adventurous rhythmic incitement of Behan and the corrosively riveting riffs of bass and guitar. Not one note or twist in the song comes without scintillating creative tenacity but it never dips into the realms of excess either, every alignment of savagery and technical enthralment a gripping and easily accessible drama.
The brief instrumental Dream of the Red Chamber allows a breath to be swallowed, though its melodic beauty then takes away the next before moving into the outstanding predacious storm of Thought Replication. The new track lurches with a sonic tempting which swiftly enslaves appetite and emotions. Sinew driven riffs add ravenous shadows to ever grizzled and compelling vocals, whilst the emerging creative emprise spreads elegant and mouth-watering tendrils. Not as intensively aggression as the first pair of tracks, the song bellows at and charms the senses in equal measure, their fluid union a through captivation from ear to passions.
It is hard to relay the skills at play and the even more impressive merger of that brilliance into the grooving almost bestial rapacious heart of this and other songs, that ridiculously thrilling success repeated and enhanced with The Abstract. For all the references which flirt with thought across the release, this song also imposes a veining of inhospitality which could be Ferium or Killswitch Engage bred , this again showing the broadness and depth of the band’s sound. The track continues to gnaw on and subdue the senses, its ferocity coming with a rabidity which is flirtatious and speared with staggered and jagged unpredictability and ear teasing sonic fascination.
Another mesmeric instrumental sooths next, Down to a Sunless Sea as radiant as the previous piece, before final track raises its rhythmic ire and sonic fire to sear and assault with glorious invention. The Empyrean Divide explores thoughts and soul with a rich Opeth/Death spiced, heavily shadowed breath. There is an even more menacing darkness and imposing grudge to the proposition but again it’s devouring only leads to brighter prospects echoed by lyrics and the melodic maze of invention veining and entwining the raw onslaught.
The final track is a thunderous close to an exceptional encounter, one which puts Vile Regression firmly on the frontline of progressive/technical extreme metal releases this year. Empires declares the band a new emerging leading light, a proposition the metal world has unknowingly been eagerly waiting for.
The Empires EP is available now!
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