Vacivus’ crushing death metal pushes chaos into darkness on grim, ugly ‘Temple of the Abyss’

The idea of total emptiness is a terrifying thought, if you sit down and give it even a few minutes of your time. The idea of a total void that’s not just an empty room or piece of land but the actual lack of any substance whatsoever is a mind eraser. How can that even be a thing? I’m getting a little upset just thinking of that right now, but that could be some anxiety/OCD combo thing.

UK death metal upstarts Vacivus must have been dwelling on that very thing, seeing as that they chose the Latin form of the word “void” to represent their band. Right away, you’re starting off on a scary level, knowing the band must have their minds elsewhere in that terrible vacuum where all existence ceases to be a thing. Their scathing second record “Temple of the Abyss” is another smart pickup by Profound Lore, who have released music from like-minded bands such as Cruciamentum and Grave Miasma and are keeping the dangerous fires burning madly with this group. The band—vocalist Nick Craggs, guitarists Ross Oliver and Dan Rochester (of aforementioned Cruciamentum), bassist Dan Jones, and drummer Ian Finley—use what they established on their 2014 debut “Dawn of Chaos” and further blacken and scar that foundation, making this a sootier, more aggressive record.

“Premonitions” is a quick introductory cut built by weird sounds, gasps, and whispers, with the warning, “The nothingness has come,” swooping in at the tail end. “Towards Infinite Chasms” bleeds open as guitars spiral, and the tempo is shredded. Growls tear at the flesh, while the playing is violent and sinewy, smothering muscle to bone. The band grinds away, with lead guitars blazing, and the grim tidings fading into time. “Oubliette” has a punishing open, as the band’s death grip tightens, and the growls lurch in the dirt. The guitars get tricky and then go off, as the back end smashes everything in its path. “Summoning Apophis” is slow driving and ugly before bursting open and flooding the room with blood. The riffs turn stomachs, while the tempo is grounded in menacing fury, and the guitars unleash a path of craziness that stretches right up to its end.

“Cosmological Necroticism” has burly guitars and a pace that bashes you right across the face. The growls ache, while the drums smash everything into oblivion, and a mystical weirdness overtakes the guitar work. The growls turn guttural, while the pace slithers painfully, and the soreness extends itself right up to the song’s end. “Black Flame Serpent” starts with acoustics before weird chants arrive, and the guitar work conjures even more evil spirits. Sick moans barrel from Craggs’ mouth, while the song drives into thick black tar that weighs down on the madness. The chants return over dark shades of death, while the guitars envelop, and soloing burns it all to ash. “Filii Inferos” punches, rumbles, and thrashes, as monstrous riffs crash the party, and the playing creates vertigo. A slow, mucky doom crawl starts, while the band unloads with heaviness. The growls intensify as the pace picks of suddenly, resulting in disgusting strikes. The closing title cut starts clean before completely destroying. The tempo rips heads clean from necks, while chants add a terrifying element, and the soloing lights up. Craggs digs deeply again for more horrifying growls, while the band loses their respective minds, and the track bleeds away into tributaries of terror.

Vacivus generate terror and chaos on “Temple of the Abyss,” a record that should inhibit fear in the hearts of those who encounter the music. Their push into the depths of nothingness could chill your blood and have your heart racing with anxiety as you face the complete annihilation of all physical matter. Or, you could simply dwell on this band being another strong entry into underground death metal’s bustling worldwide scene, one in which they should see their profile increase as they sicken more listeners.

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