In the 2013 death metal pantheon, Washington label 20 Buck Spin has done reasonably well for itself (see: Bone Sickness) but with just two months or so left in the year, the label seems intent on rolling out one more cluster of filthy DM, this time in the shape of Vastum’s sophomore album, Patricidal Lust.
The San Franciscan unit has just one album to their name thus far, 2011’s Carnal Law, but with members of Acephalix and Hammers of Misfortune amongst their ranks, they’re certainly dab hands at their craft, evidenced by this terse but obliterating effort.
Patricidal Lust is an album occupied with sordid and morose themes. One glance at the artwork and song titles will show this. However, dark and unsettling themes are one thing, but nothing without their sonic companion.
Very much smitten with death metal’s murkiest of corners and digging out the filthiest riffs from its nooks and crannies, Vastum make their modus operandi rather clear from the get-go with ‘Libidinal Spring’ where thick, bilious guitars plucked from the Bolt Thrower school of thought and wretched guttural vocals emerge from their mire.
The band is most comfortable with a mid-paced trudge than breakneck blasting-oriented DM. This ideal puts a great deal of focus on atmosphere, but not at the expense of riffs either, as the band has most definitely taken a few cues from doom, but specifically the doom-inflected death metal of Coffins.
‘3AM In Agony’, meanwhile, is a good example of the band working at a faster pace with a juddering bass drum and cut-throat guitar work. However it’s with the charmingly titled ‘Repulsive Arousal’ that the band choose to end the record; laden with slower trudges that are the album’s mainstay and making it a suitable way to bookend the record.
A vile and fetid piece of death metal, Vastum’s second full-length does a solid job of setting up shop and making its intentions clear. It has stayed within a set of established parameters for their preferred scents of DM but still excelled in creating a notable effort.