Vile // Metamorphosis
Rating: 3.0/5.0 —Could have used an actual metamorphosis
Label: Willowtip Records
Release dates: US: 11.15.2011 | EU: 2012.01.10
How far from reality would it be to argue that death metal has become a saturated genre with no room for improvement? I suddenly imagine a short chubby skinhead with a 50 cm long goatee screaming at my invalid premise which makes my argument seem quite farfetched. So we have now at our hands Metamorphosis which is the fourth full-length album by California’s Vile and it comes six years after 2005’s well received The New Age of Chaos, and that my fellow metal heads is a long time to put out a death metal album. Makes you wonder how the new one sounds like, doesn’t it? Well if you are familiar with their older works and the current worldwide vitals of death metal, you wouldn’t be really surprised by this record. This is an album that sounds quite contemporary as far as death metal goes and carries some obvious influences than can be traced to Deicide, Suffocation and 20th century Morbid Angel. Another thing I realized as soon as I saw the artwork is how much it reminded me of Atheist’s Jupiter, but I guess it would be impossible to scan the entire metal spectrum for cover art just to make sure what the artist you’re paying may or may not have copied.
As soon as you hit that play button, “March Towards the Dawn” will explode right off the bat with senseless blasting and trebly, crackling bass which gives a clear statement of musical intent if there ever were any. Sophomore track “The Revealing” has rather unexpected, and quite pleasing I might add, arrangement of clean chords supporting a melodic solo which then gives way to more violence. The intensity of the riffing almost never steers considerably far from its core throughout the thirty-eight minute span of Metamorphosis, except for the riff-less interlude “I Am Become Death,” which features the all too famous spoken word segment by Robert Oppenheimer where he quotes the Bhagavad Gita while reflecting on the atomic bomb trials conducted in 1945.
Brief stints of melodic brilliance are able to peek through the dense smoke of guttural vocals, plodding bass and razor-sharp riffing. Examples for which are the transitional lead line in “What Lies Beyondâ,” the last few seconds of melodic riffing and blasting on “Wolf At Your Door,”the top-notch riffing on “Shadow Work,” and the tremolo riffing on “Redemption,” that spans the entire neck and then gives way to a solo that soars to the sky; making it a most adequate ending for the album.
Having pointed out these sporadic points that lift the album above the average line, I feel compelled to point out those that do the opposite. Vile unfortunately suffer from short-track-length syndrome, which makes the listening experience quite concise without a lasting effect of amazement. Another issue I’ve found incredibly distracting is how inorganic the drums sound. This is, of course, a production issue that doesn’t really make any drummer better or worse. It’s just that there are so many bands doing this with their drum sound, it would be refreshing to come across an album with the drums sounding more natural than this. Guitar tones, in terms of originality of sound, didn’t achieve much in setting these guys apart from any other guitar player. It’s actually quite representative of the entire album really. Go for it if you’re an obsessive death metal collector but for the casual passer-by, you’re not missing much.