It’s an arid and brazen road Vantablack Warship take on ‘Abrasive Pulmonic Speak’. Propelled by virile velocity, this mini-album of eight guitar-heavy songs rushes at you with an unflinching strike. It’s raucous, macho and somewhat superficial – with songs about (American) football, weed, MMA, and washed-up rockstars. This is heavy metal that’s grim and grimy.
The group, who hail from Montreal and formed in 2014, are veterans of the Quebec metal scene (Arseniq33, Foreshadow, Buffalo Theory Mtl) – this experience is apparent in the confident uppercut that this album makes.
“I am a rockstar. The real sh*t!” screams singer Yannick Pilon in opening track Another Dead Rockstar. A bold statement with a bold, very rock’n’roll vibe. The rolling guitar riffs in the hook lay down a coercive groove.
The sound grows murky in Big Tongue Bertha. Wailing guitars and aggravated screams are anchored by aggressive, leaden rhythms.
Blood On The Mat, about female MMA fighters, is vicious in its fully-charged, pumping delivery. The guitars in the chorus pervade their way into your mind, as Pilon spits out venomous, vile and violent lyrics. Not just for the lyrical shock value, this song is an upbeat standout and you’ll want to listen to it more than once. Just to note, the lyrics were in fact written by a woman and the song makes an anti-violence stance; intended to make us question why we promote and support violence amongst women.
Kill The Kid toys with tempos and styles to set the ghoulish mood of the piece. The shift from hasty thrash to lumbering doom creates an eerie contrast of sound.
The churning bass and guitars plough through the two minutes and 26 seconds of Ruderalis¸ before the grand, title track takes charge. Abrasive Pulmonic Speak is the pièce de résistance – a culmination of raw, unbridled hardcore energy thrust forth with complete disdain. The band sit in their element with this style; they’re a more fused and forceful entity in this track than anywhere else.
The album is rounded out by The Blackhole – a fairly insignificant song about football – and the molten sludge of Crisis. This last track opens with thunderous drums that steer into smacks of potent doom.
The project is an uninhibited outlet for the band. They don’t refrain from trying to disperse all shapes of metal – death, thrash, hardcore, doom – and the band do well to blend these cohesively into their own sound.
What I think lets the album down is the lack of lyrical or musical depth. This album has a resounding bark; with sharp instrumentation and searing screams that are arresting. But it just misses out on having a truly devastating bite to match – lacking the serrated teeth of piercing sharp lyrics or musical dimension, that could make this album truly grip you. It’s enjoyable, but forgettable.
Nevertheless, ‘Abrasive Pulmonic Speak’ is a pack of punchy, relentless and unabashed songs that are for anyone who likes to veer off the straight and narrow every once and a while.
‘Abrasive Pulmonic Speak’ is out on 26 January. Pre-order your copy here.
Another Dead Rockstar (3:04)
Black Tongue Bertha (2:41)
Blood On The Mat (3:00)
Kill The Kid (2:44)
Abrasive Pulmonic Speak (2:57)
The Blackhole (2:52)
Album Length: 24:45