Vile - Metamorphosis (Willowtip Records)

NWO beware, Vile is coming for you!
Release Date: 
15 Nov 2011 (All day)

Vile have been one of those bands in my opinion that sit in the third tier of modern American death metal. By that I mean they lack the name recognition of many bands, or may not be ‘scene’ enough for others. They have been around for a while, but never seem to elevate beyond a loyal, but fairly underground following. I think Metamorphosis will change that! I have been a admirer of Vile ‘from back in the day’ since their first release Stench of The Deceased. This was when they were more of a gore-based act, and had a sound that was a mix of Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse (not at all bad!). Their second album Depopulate really was a step up in regards to sound, and playing. Vile were in many ways the forerunners of modern DM. With the triggered drums, technical riffing, shredding solos and insane vocals, you can see a blue print of many bands to come.

Their third album Age of Chaos, was a departure from the gore genre, and swayed very heavily into the modern American psyche. It had heavy political themes, and targeted the peoples’ enemy of the time, Extremist Islam (a controversial move). Bear in mind that album was released not long after the terror attacks, and they were not the only band to go intense on this topic. (See Dying Fetus One shot-One Kill, and Internal Bleeding's album Onward to Mecca). This new recording form this California based band, seems again to be another switch. Vile had digested the FOX headlines, but could not stomach the taste. Metamorphosis is laden not only with some truly innovative songs, but also intense anti-establishment messages. Borrowing from Orwellian, anti NWO, 9/11 Truth Movement and other ‘conspiracy’ sources, Metamorphosis is an uncompromising album, to say the least. Colin Davis (Guitars, music, lyrics) is the sole remaining member of Vile, and like Chuck Schuldiner (Death), Lee Harrison (Monstrosity) and Erick Rutan (Hate Eternal) before him, he is truly skilled in his execution and single minded vision. He had the patience to work on this album, which took 2 years to record and finalise, as many other members of Vile had prior commitments etc. Having also been a producer on this, and in fact all Vile albums, he knows his craft.

The mix on this album is beyond reproach. The drums of Tyson Jupin are by the books modern DM. Triggers, blast, and endless doubles (not all bad, but can get a little samey). Tyson does do some amazing drumming, he does mix it up with great cymbal work, and can slow it down when required. My only real emerging issue with this style of DM, is that the drumming can become a tad sterile, but there is enough going on to not make it a major issue. The Bass of JJ Hrubovack (Hate Eternal) is solid, twangy and very precise. He also plays guitar on the song Rise, and contributes music to that song, as well as March Toward the Dawn. The vocals of Mike Hrubovack (Monstrosity) are pure awesomeness! His range is quite broad, sitting usually in a bellowing mid range, he sounds almost effortless in his pronunciations, growls and screams. Ending off the review with the guitar work of Colin Davis, one word….evolution. He really has gone to great lengths to make Vile a stand alone band, even in the early days. Their song structures have always been inventive and unique, and at time quite unexpected. His rhythm and solo work on this album is quite a showcase of DM in the modern era. The ability to create atmosphere and depth, whilst remaining relevant and to hold your attention, is a fine line. Vile walk that line quite closely, but still keep right on the edge, which does stand them apart from many mediocre DM bands of today. I really cannot pick one song that is above the rest, seriously, they are all very high class tunes! This album for me was unexpected, as Vile had basically drifted into the winds, but as a ‘comeback’ I must say it stand very high indeed. Especially if you are getting a bit over the newer wave of ‘non-stop’ extreme, Vile do provide a cleansing approach, a literal Metamorphosis.