August 16th, 2012
This is another review originally written for Cvlt Nation. I held off on posting it here but I see some links have surfaced on the net elsewhere, so I'm getting this up here now.
Inamorata, the first full length from Toronto's rising hardcore act Vilipend, is quite the wrecking ball of blazing discordance.
I've reviewed a few of Vilipend's EPs not too long ago at the band's request, and I've seen them a few times since then; including a few nights ago at Titan's Burn release show. I filmed their set in which they played quite a few tracks from this very record. Some I heard for the first time and others I've definitely heard prior, but now that I have the new record in my hands and have given it a good dose of spins I can definitely recommend grabbing this sharp shard of hardcore for yourself. It's a sign that the old styles of metalcore and hardcore from the '90's like Rorschach still survives and is driven by just as much passion, without an injection of black metal (not that it would be a negative, it's just nice to see).
The title of this record should give you a hint as to at least one main theme of the record — whether it's a reference to a past lover or being used ironically/metaphorically, in thinly veiled spite or all of the above. Chris' despondent snarls spewing the subjects of betrayal, hatred cowardice once again translate very well feelings of destitution and frustration; rolling between vicious rasps and warped semi-clean slurs.
These topics are not unfamiliar but they are universally relatable, strongly written and performed, and he's supported in his vocal duties by Derek and Mike at various points in many tracks as well. Coupled with Adam's catchy splattering of percussion, and the coarse rumble of Mike's bass supporting Derek's dissonant, furious guitar attack this all makes for a twisted and bitter voyage into chaotic hardcore the band can stand proud by.
Out of the gate Inamorata presents the angst and anger nicely with "To Impede The Healing Process", noisy with tumbling drums and loads of distortion as Chris unfurls the vitriol within. Scraping rhythms and acrid presence fills this song and the next, "Cutting Heartstrings [Erosion]" which has some mean percussion in the opening seconds and a clean finish. Some tracks sound straight forward and punkish at first like "The Last Stand of the Hopeless Romantic", beginning with a bouncy assault (almost upbeat) before descending into dark slams and bent dissonance — emerging with a chorus of shouts, wicked and loud as well as a short final riff that closes the track nicely.
"The Thin Red Line Between Salvation and Damnation" is an example of the band slowing things down beautifully as it opens with a hypnotizing drum beat, the satisfying clang of cymbals, gradual feedback and Mike's steady plucking providing ample quakes. While maintaining the pace, Derek kicks in with a sluggish slam and slow sustained bends which will have you swaying. Chris brings intoxicated moaning and snarls over top and a moment for Mike opens up to conjure a great slithering solo bass line. What I love about the way this track ends is how it so easily, after some angular processions, drags you into the next track "Farewell, Cruel Girl [Apnea]" which immediately turns the speed up a few notches, and has one of the best opening riffs ever. It's so simple but such a seriously addicting moment and I only wish it repeated once more at some point in the song.
These two may be my favorites. They're almost symbiotic, containing some of those mesmerizing bends, choppy chugging and a repeated clean section that tangles with a distorted set of chops while Chris rails onward. The [Apnea] tag on the tail of this track brings some quiet reflection before they tear onward: a solemn and melodic acoustic instrumental that might throw you at first after the devastating assault that proceeded it.
That's the only break you'll get here though, as the guys plow ahead with "Self Low Thing" and "Great White Nothing", two more sonic batterings before the final entry. I heard the second track here for the first time live last week and it was heavy and spellbinding on stage, so hearing it laid down here you can believe that it retains just as much weight. Jumpy and jarring with a truly massive uncoiling riff near the end as Chris's vocals become heavily distorted it's no wonder they got this up and streaming first to showcase the record.
There's only one area of this album which contains a little more technical flair outside of the writhing, and this is found on the final moments of "Meant To Be"; performed by another local musician Luke Roberts. It works well with core elements of the track which is the longest one on Inamorata. It crawls at first, enclosed in a sorrow filled atmosphere but eventually opens up the tempo with that satisfying twangy rhythm and booming bass lines, hitting some very catchy moments midway through. The hook lyric "It was meant to be nothing at all!" begins to cycle endlessly towards the finale and it grabs your attention like a vice grip. It stops for a moment, then the slams, bends and kicks rotate around this lyric when suddenly that aforementioned solo punches through the caustic haze. It's a great solo, harmonized at the end without needless wank. The hook comes back for a moment before a slow fade with bass up front.
Inamorata can definitely be counted as a triumph for the band while leaving room to progress and expand, keeping the old school and tasty cacophony alive and vibrant. All of their outputs have been powerful but this one tops them undoubtedly.
Yes, this is some excellent hardcore you should definitely check out and support. If you're looking for a copy it's up for preorder on baby blue vinyl on A389 Recordings, and I believe the cd copies are distributed by No List Records; the band currently has copies so if you see them you can get a one from them. I assume they'll eventually be available at the band's merch site too so keep an eye out!