Published Sep 05, 2019The branches in the family tree of death metal are as twisted as a typical band's logo. Over the years, trendsetters have blended genres or created entirely new ones to give modern bands myriad options for expression. Somewhere in there, however, is a purer strain of the genre, one that, while evolving over time, preserves the idea of death metal as it was originally conceived by bands like Morbid Angel.
Vitriol are of that lineage, walking the straight and narrow of death metal, veering not too far in any one direction that would take it off course. The Portland, OR outfit's debut full-length, To Bathe From the Throat of Cowardice, follows in the footsteps of bands emerging from the late '90s into the 2000s. It shares a lot of similarities in particular to works by Hate Eternal, including vocal delivery and Trey Azagthothian riffs, as heard in songs "Violence, a Worthy Truth" and "Pain Will Define Their Death."
The band also incorporate some sounds from the realm of blackened death, such as the ringing, ice-cold guitars in the chorus of album opener "The Parting of a Neck." What really breathes life into this album, however, is some truly maddening dissonance, akin to the eldritch tech death of Portal, on songs such as "Legacy of Contempt" and "The Rope Calls You Brother."
In comparison to bands delving into the fringes of death metal or unearthing furtive episodes from its past, Vitriol are in well-explored territory. The sound they're invoking on To Bathe From the Throat of Cowardice is tried and true. However, what really sells this album is the follow through. Every blistering track is played with such animosity that it's visceral. You can feel the force of each musician's playing in their performance, and there are some gleefully unhinged moments in the vocals as well.
Perhaps in the future, Vitriol will incorporate more experimentation in the mix. As for To Bathe From the Throat of Cowardice, while it doesn't break the mold, it's a heavy-hitting debut that's sure to please most headbangers. (Century Media)