Luminous Vault take hypnotic journeys into death and inner struggle on fiery ‘Charismata’

People don’t tend to like dwelling on uncomfortable things. Just witness our pop culture. It’s one feel-good, throw-away thing after another without an ounce of genuine pain, discomfort, or sadness to it. It’s a gigantic, fake, sugar-shocked smile devoid of any real substance because no one ever hurts. If they did, they might not buy the products!

NYC-based black metal duo Luminous Vault is here to put a change to all of that. So, maybe they won’t penetrate the overall populace, the people who really need a wake-up call. But they’re here to deliver a trance-inducing exploration of and journey into death, rebirth, and the struggle within for those who don’t mind dwelling in discomfort. On their new thunderous new EP “Charismata,” the band—guitarist/vocalist Mario Diaz de Leon (noted solo artist whose also known for Oneirogen), bassist Samuel Smith (Artificial Brain)—put you through an industrial-tinged assault that should have your head spinning within seconds. That the contents inside your head will come perilously close to spilling out should not be a concern, because you’ll be at the eye of a vortex looking to suck you into forever. These four songs are heavy, hypnotic, and outright devastating, adding another killer building block on top of the foundation they laid on 2015’s EP “Communion,” pushing their obelisk toward the heavens.

The collection starts with “Birthblood,” as noise and trudging playing knock down the goddamn door and charge inside. Guitars rain down, as de Leon’s vicious howls make first impact. Eerie melodies pile on each other, while guitars spiral, the low end gets muddy as hell, and murky strangeness begins bleeding heavily, as noise and feedback stretch and fade out. “Kyrious” is ominous right from the start, with calculated beats and grisly vocals tearing down any sense of comfort. “You will sacrifice yourself unto the plague!” de Leon howls, as the track takes another twist toward the bizarre, continuing the band’s mission to contort any hint of normalcy.

The title cut is hypnotic and a force of nature, leaving you desperately grabbing for something solid to support your balance. It’s of no use as the band pushes the monstrous assault into overdrive, with the maniacal vocals drawing blood and piercing noise carving away at your ear drums and dragging you all the way to the finish line. Closer “Tower” is the longest song at 11:28, starting with strangeness flooding the senses and guitars burning and leaving thick black smoke behind. If there’s such thing as funeral death metal, this is right down that decrepit alley, as guitars chew away, and abrasive vocals push the pace toward total audio violence. Industrial-style beats and a clubbing bass thicken the waters, while the charge hits a high point, pulls back its force, and bleeds out with the back end of rumbling noise.

Though it’s a smaller serving in form of an EP, Luminous Vault pour enough chaos and punishment into “Charismata” than many bands put into something twice as long. These songs grip your hand and pull you into the madness, with you having no choice but go along as you can’t fight the beast. You’ll be forced to confront darkness, morbidity, and your own demise, but once you’re done, nothing will fucking scare you ever again.

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