There’s a lot to be angry about in the world right now - the rise of the far right and neo-fascism, systemic racism, hatred of anything and anyone different than the white, cis-gendered “norm”, *deep breath*. impending ecological collapse, a giant recession looming on the horizon AND a global pandemic ravaging the planet. It’s exhausting just to type that out but to give in to apathy and just accept it is to lie about the possibility of a better world, one grounded in humanity and compassion - and it’s this attitude that Canadian doom duo Vile Creature are challenging on latest opus Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm!.
Describing themselves as an “angry queer gloom cult”, Vile Creature rage against fascism, capitalism and hate on Glory, Glory! offering an utterly uncompromising and vicious platter and the most complete vision yet of Vile Creature’s sound, forcing listeners to stare into its writhing, ugly depths. Opener ‘Harbinger of Nothing’ stakes its claim immediately, beginning with caustic screams; the track ebbs and flows between churning riffs and stabs of feedback shot through with melody. These sit alongside the desolate rasps of vocalist/drummer Vic and the throat-shredding roars of vocalist/guitarist KW to create an eleven minute dirge yet one that keeps morphing throughout before abruptly collapsing into high-pitched rings.
Follow up ‘When The Path Is Unclear’ initially drifts, albeit with menacing purpose, with minimalist guitar and muted shrieks, before a spoken word passage atop scuzzy guitars heralds the coming of a titanic riff with KW and Vic trading lines; the song only swells from here before ending in feedback and a short statement declaring the end of Side A and asking to flip to Side B to continue - it’s a small quirk but one that belies the band’s preferred format for the album to be heard in, and adds a nice touch. Midpoint ‘You Who Has Never Slept’ keeps the glacial pace to around the halfway mark, where thundering drums herald a quickening of pace that hits with all the force of a sledgehammer before again slowing to a crawl.
The final two tracks that comprise the album title are Vile Creature’s most sonically ambitious and diverse to date; ‘Glory, Glory!’ features ethereal vocals from guest Laurel Minnes (Miniscule) atop lush clean guitars and choral arrangements with piano and organ courtesy of Tanya Byrnes (Bismuth), before crashing back into the bleak depths of ‘Apathy Took Helm!’, belding the disparate elements of the more classical arrangements with the caustic, sludge-laden doom to form a cohesive, oppressive but uplifting whole.
To call the album’s tone fuzzy would be a disservice; heavily distorted guitars with tortured shrieks are fused with monolithic riffs and the use of feedback creates a sonic platter that most sludge/doom bands can only hope to emulate. On offer is a scathing rebuttal of apathy, both personal and political; despite the nihilistic and adversarial nature of music, conviction and belief in striving for better, borne of the duo’s lifelong activism, lies at the core of the album to create an outrageously compelling experience that’s only heightened by the strength of its convictions.
Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm! is released June 19th via Prosthetic Records.