Vitriol are a death metal band from Portland, Oregon. Their debut EP, Pain Will Define Their Death, drops November 10th. Here’s hoping that next year they drop a full-length record. And perhaps another the year after that. Same the following year. So on and so forth. Mark your calendars, tune your EQ to “Deadly”, and prepare yourself for abject disappointment, because this EP only has three songs and that isn’t nearly enough music from this monumentally talented band. We need more of this, dammit, and we need it NOW!
The sounds conjured on Pain Will Definte Their Death are a mix of Bolt Thrower and Dismember’s gnarled riff aggression, Deathspell Omega’s black metal-infused anti-melody, and the brutal technicality of bands like Nile. But Vitriol are very far from a mere copy of the above bands. Instead, they are the synthesis of the individual elements that made these bands the legends they are. Vitriol is ultra-aggressive, technically proficient, and display a keen understanding and mastery of the type of riff-building that serves to propel songs into their highest level of aggression without losing a distinct sense of rhythm and purpose. In short, Vitriol writes fantastic music and if Pain Will Define Their Death is only a taste of what’s to come we may have a new death metal leviathan on our hands. Praise be.
The EP’s opening and title track features a minute-long instrumental frenzy that introduces the song’s main riff, followed by a blackened technical blast that pulls from the DsO, Ulsect, and Dodecahedron tradition before Kyle Rasmussen’s vocals split our skulls with their absolute ferocity. Within this maelstrom, the band never once feels out of control, displaying extremely deft songwriting ability which always pull the music back toward comprehensibility and clarity amidst the unrelenting audio attack of manic drumming and hyper-aggressive guitar work. Of note: When I write that this music is aggressive, I mean it is AGGRESSIVE. It sounds like it wants to jump directly into your head and beat your brain to death. If you love your music insanely vicious, you’ve come to the right place.
Second track “Victim” maintains the sonic themes introduced by “Pain Will Define Their Death”, but adds a just a tad more space in the songwriting, allowing the instruments to be just a bit more individually discernable. The production job on this EP can be thanked for this as it is quite good, particularly given the violent and frenetic nature of the music. The guitars slice and bludgeon with verve, and the drum work is given enough prominence to feel an integral part of the mix without being overpowering (a common malady in this type of death metal). Final track “Violence, A Worthy Truth” brings back to the forefront some of the more blackened and jagged elements of the EP’s opening moments, sending us out in a state of abject chaos and discomfort. A fitting end to a thoroughly discomfiting batch of tracks.
Pain Will Define Their Death is perhaps the most promising and immediately impactful opening statement by a death metal band this year. That’s not a small feat in 2017, where our collective cup constantly runneth over with some of the best death metal to be released in years. Vitriol belong in the same group as Succumb, Necrot, and Venenum in regards to quality debut work, and I am beyond ecstatic to see where they go next. As Eden eloquently described it, this is death metal that makes you go “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!” I wholeheartedly concur. More, please.
Pain Will Define Their Death will be available on 10/20 independently. Look out for pre-release information on Bandcamp soon!