With roughly 18 minutes at their disposal, Georgia’s Vatican dish out blistering, rampaging metalcore on Ache of Eternity.
Lying at the sweet spot where early 2000s metalcore and metallic hardcore converge, Ache of Eternity delivers five tracks of flesh-ripping riffs, bashing grooves and breakdowns galore. Though the band have only been in existence since 2015, their push for sonic evolution and refinement is apparent within their handful of releases. Ache of Eternity sits at the apex of this evolution, offering something that is no doubt familiar, but also dynamic and destructive. If Trustkill and Ferret Music were still operating today, Vatican would be the type of band they would have bred.
“Divine Ruination” immediately storms out of the gate and throttles the listener with an array of caustic guitar grooves and thrashing drum work. Angular chaos ensues as the song progresses, eventually giving way to galloping breakdowns with some melodic inflections. Throat-searing, acid-spitting vocals spearhead this bludgeoning tune as it reaches its climax of post-hardcore melodicism and clean, emotionally-charged choruses. From here, Ache of Eternity only gets heavier.
“Boundless Image” follows next and features a fiery collision between metallic hardcore beatdowns and chugging, angular metalcore. The guitar riffs slam and spiral relentlessly throughout this track, leading towards a disemboweling climax of monstrous breakdowns. This manic tune is followed by dreamlike clean guitar melodies on “Dreamer’s Bodybag”, which lulls the listener into a false sense of security before assaulting them with metallic fury. The song features a tug-o-war between these clean breaks and chugging, modern metalcore throughout the majority of the tune before closing with an onslaught of steamrolling riffs and blistering solo work.
Vatican choose to close out this EP with the heaviest cuts on the record, “Slit of Creation” and “Innocence Grows Obsolete”. “Slit of Creation” is a two-minute bombardment of all things angular and dissonance. The guitars conjure the most erratic, oddly-time riffs rife with as much noise and dissonance as possible while the rhythm section delivers its own chaotic aural punishment. “Innocence Grows Obsolete” continues along the path its predecessor laid out for it, delivering its own myriad of hectic riffing, muscular grooves and lurching sludge. With all their frantic instrumentation and mosh-worthy beatdowns, these two tracks act like a fusion between the most chaotic moments of bands like Zao and Scarlet.
Any fan of metalcore of the early to mid 2000s will see that Vatican aren’t doing anything necessarily new, but their efforts yield widely better results than many of their contemporaries. Like any genre of music, it can grow stale over time without innovative acts to push the genre forward. While Ache of Eternity isn’t exactly revolutionary, it has got enough piss and vinegar running through its veins to keep the heart of metalcore pumping with anguish.
Release Date: August 25, 2017
Label: Sorrow Carrier Records
Favorite Tracks: “Slit of Creation” and “Innocence Grows Obsolete”
For Fans Of: Zao, Scarlet, It Dies Today, Martyr A.D. and Beneath the Sky