PICK OF THE WEEK: Vile Creature’s grim nuclear death doom story chars ‘Cast of Static and Smoke’

The end is here. We’ve heard people talk about it, speculate on it, worry, and make predictions. The two minutes to midnight expired so fast, and in the aftermath, nuclear holocaust arrived, and fallout rained down over what would otherwise be a lovely, picturesque autumn day, the one that would warm the heart about the splashes of color and need to layer. All of that is gone.

That’s the sentiment that greets you on Vile Creature’s devastating new record “Cast of Static and Smoke,” a dystopian sci-fi tale about the end of civilization brought on by nuclear devastation. The record falls at an opportune moment, when the world seems to be at a crossroads as to how we will proceed into the future, and if we even have that future at all. This ambitious release, accompanied by a 16-page book that includes the lyrics and the entire story itself, is a sludge-splashed, caustic doom metal opus created by the Canadian duo of drummer/vocalist Vic and guitarist/vocalist/percussionist KW. This record, their follow-up to 2015 debut “A Steady Descent Into the Soil” and 2016 EP “A Pessimistic Doomsayer,” is a massive step forward for the band. They already were impressive on their first two releases, but this one pushes them even further ahead, as it’s the band finding the path they were meant to be on and burning any previous roads. These four songs spread over a caustic 44 minutes are utterly devastating most of the time, achingly heartbreaking at others as our fate, of which we weren’t even in control, is selfishly torn from our grasp.

“Water, Tinted Gold and Tainted Copper” is a 10:20 opener that details the aftermath of the nuclear terror, with narrator Erin Severson informing, “The end came swiftly,” before the band is full bore into bludgeoning. Their terrifying power blasts over the fall skies they detail, with the music flooding and gut-wrenching wails bringing pain. The track pulls back its tempo, though still mauling, while Vic wails, “Got what we thought we wanted, what we thought we knew, touched the wires together.” From there, gargantuan pounding erupts, as growls and noise combine, and guitars shriek before exiting. “Circuits, Bending and Breaking” starts with a steady push from the drums and tortured cries behind them. The misery is amplified further, as the track cuts through the mud, and brutality leaks from every crevice. Animalistic growls register overhead, nearly bringing your heart to a stop, while the pace then pounds relentlessly, with noise spreading before bleeding away.

“Forest, Subsists as a Tomb” is the longest cut, a 13:36 monster that starts with keys blazing, feedback stinging, and a sorrowful ambiance that extends its black arms. Drone collects before the song starts gaining steam, while growls slice through the body of the music, and the drums bash away. The band hits a thrashier pattern, delivering devastation, while the vocals shred the senses before Severson delivers another dialog, leading into the final stretch built with mashing playing, bone-splitting energy, and a finality that sends shockwaves through your body. “Sky, in Descending Pieces” brings the record to a close and is the shortest piece at a still-generous 8:52. The track has a cold, trickling start as the music unfurls slowly, with the growls sounding like they’re buried under waves. Anguish is splashed over everything, from the guttural vocals, with KW howling behind all of that, and Severson again speaks as the tale draws to a close. The music is wrenching, the cries feel like they are desperate for hope, and the song ends with darkness prevailing, as all existence is rendered a memory.

Vile Creature deserve to be acknowledged as one of the true special new bands lifting doom up by its lofty tent poles, and “Cast of Static and Smoke” is an awesome show of force both musically and philosophically. This band has put up with their fair share of bullshit from people who disagree with their battle to defend their and others’ sexuality, politics, and social issues, but this duo only come out of that much more galvanized. Look no further than this record that proves Vile Creature are strong as fuck, and their crushing visions and expression is enough to bring cowards to their knees.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/vilecreature

To buy the album, go here: http://www.halooffliesrecords.com/label-releases/halo108-vile-creature-cast-of-static-and-smoke-lp/

Or here: http://www.drycoughrecords.com/product/vile-creature-cast-of-static-and-smoke-lp

For more on the label, go here: http://www.halooffliesrecords.com/

And here: http://www.drycoughrecords.com/