For those who still appreciate classic music mediums and own working tape players, boom-boxes or Walkman’s, Fragile Branch Recordings will release Days Without Names from the one-man operation Vials Of Wrath on deluxe cassette as a limited edition 100 run for an unofficial June release.
Originally released in 2015, all vocals, guitars, bass and synth were done by Dempsey “DC” Mills with guest guitar solo on Burning Autumn Leaves by Derek Corzine (Whisper From Heaven, Blood Thirsty) and guest vocals by Aaron Macemore (Bloodline, Severed) with R. Michael Cook (A Hill To Die Upon) providing drums on A Cleansing Prayer.
Vials of Wrath began in 2009 in Princeton, WV, inspired by Ihsahn and Burzum, releasing a death metal flavored self-titled EP and later, the album Let There Be Light.
Mills wrote material in 2011 leaning towards more atmosphere spending time hiking in God’s country seeking spiritual inspiration. He sought to capture a sound that celebrated the greatness of nature and its great creator as well as self-reflection. After two years of in house studio work Seeking Refuge was released in 2013.
Vials of Wrath offer a unique formula of folk and prog with mild, bluesy, rock guitar solos and lush, acoustic, tranquil atmospheric melodies built around savagely-screamed old school black metal. V.O.W. gives fans the best of both worlds starting and often ending tracks with pleasant acoustical stringed dances while filling the rest with the echoed screeching menace of what happens when the chilling, lurking darkness falls and the diabolic side of the woods comes out.
However even the style of music is a bit of a trick and rebellion against its own sound in that the lyrics, indistinguishable and inaudible as they may be, by style and choice, are taken and written from a Christian perspective focusing on the aesthetic beauty of nature and its divine creator. Opening the possibilities of what our natural landscapes and surroundings can tell us about life as we breath in earth’s natural grandeur. Christian themed black metal may seem farcical to many but the music speaks for itself.
Incorporating sounds of nature into folk, prog and hard rock, V.O.W. have brought elements far from the black metal genre incorporating them into its structure and making it work. Though it’s literally lining genre opposites up side by side and merging into an (almost) seamless transition, one could only imagine hearing a Pink Floyd guitar intro, acoustic campfire notes or notes sounding like something off Operation Mindcrime played, fading away, only to be kicked in the head by loud blast beats and muffed black metal screams like the dark soul of the forest had just opened, given voice.
Mills puts together impressive sounds and skills. Merging and melding the unthinkable into something listenable (depending on taste). Bringing the musical worlds of Opeth and Dark Funeral together under the rising emerald rays of the enchanted forest, grinning with non-evil ambition as the sun sets and darkness looms. Musical forms that would be in battle for space and time anywhere else coexist, mingle and play nice.
That Which I’ve Beheld begins the records collective peaceful tranquil vibes with classic piano leading into the alarming dream beat and beginning black metal pace of Journey Beyond The Flesh. Layers of synth are added to coat the sharp blackened guitar notes and vocals before crashing back into formation as clandestine guitar notes sneak into the fray ending the tune sending the crows on their way.
Revival of the Embers show just how close Queensyrche could come to a black metal tune. With atmospheric synth and a mid-tune interlude that sounds almost like if the sounds of Opeth and Pink Floyd were momentarily trapped inside the instruments before the fury returned, ending with acoustic atonement and twisting synth.
Burning Autumn Leaves opens with acoustic ominous scales and build up as fast strings are strummed. The vocals breathe and sing instead of scream with guitars cackling in before low growls return to ritualistic pomp and circumstance with guitars taking a unique technical rock approach. Alas there is acoustic mercy at the end.
The Path Less Oft Tread is arguably the closest Pink Floyd will get to corpse paint with its camp fire lit acoustic intro, almost putting the listener at ease as guitars come in like an electric pat on the back, before notes contort, converting into speed and screams.
Silhouettes Against The Sun is a pleasant instrumental utopian jam with the warmth of unplugged guitars and a unique deterrent from the cold black forest. A Cleaning Prayer comes with a new morning with the spirits and voices of the wilderness singing a wake up call, before the chaos returns.
There’s a certain atmospheric Black Sabbath vibe with how Within The Grey carries its dynamic bombastic game of chase between acoustic and electric strings to the end.