Opening up this release is Crimes Against Humanity Records boss Nick Carroll and his Sabbath-spawned Desolatevoid who set the standard with 5 upbeat tracks that contain only the most essential metal and blues components. While the vocals are far from melodic or haunting, the guitar work is superb, the drums stay busy and the riffs are monstrous. I especially like a guitar solo that switches tones halfway through and in this case, Desolatevoid delivers by taking a warm solid body lead and drowning it yet another layer of fuzz-pedal-ecstasy. What these guys lacked in terms of setting an oppressive or ‘desolate’ atmosphere they made up for in simply kicking your ass with old school rock and roll driven madness.
The next perpetrator is South Carolina’s The Last Van Zant who toe that ever shifting line between metal and punk/hardcore/whatever…consider them for several genres, in the event you are keeping score at home. What matters is that the intelligible vocals are more aggressive than they are monotone and the simplicity of the music is widely appealing and favorable out of sheer familiarity. I’m not saying these guys sound like 50 other bands…they don’t. What I am saying is the guitar riffs do more with less and take me back when all you needed to know was how to palm mute and play a minor pentatonic scale…that is where the ‘simplicity’ ends. The song structures punch and kick their way through the pits and give no hint as to their next attack. Additionally, the live sound of their recordings complete with back up vox give The Last Van Zant an added angry push over the edge, removing any motive indicating that the murder was pre-meditated.
Putting a more epic end to this release is Wisconsin’s The Parish. Contributing two tracks for a total of 15 minutes, The Parish forsake the earlier themes of blast beats and over-the-top song progressions for mood, idea development and sheer groove. The atmosphere of these songs drift from pale atmosphere into a dark pit and emerge enraged, ready to bang heads and snap necks. Regardless of what genre or cliq you may try to align yourself with, the stomping, epic anthem of the 10 minute ‘Dark Days’ brings out the metal warrior in all of us and for that alone, we give praise. It is one of those songs that you hope never ends but when it does, there could have been no better way to bring an album to its end.
All in all, the 13 tracks of Desolatevoid/The Last Van Zant/The Parish have their ups and downs…literally. From groove to doom, stoner to drone and everything in between, this 3 way covers more ground than most of its kind. I grow tired of using such genre labels, so to put it simply, its fucking cool…the amount of diversity will allow for many listens over a long, long time.