Demo:listen: Vile Apparition

Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground extreme metal. Whether it’s death, black, doom, sludge, grind, thrash, -core, heavy, speed, punk-, stoner, etc., we’re here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen the brutality escalates quickly with Melbourne’s latest death metal duo Vile Apparition.

Atrocious Captivity, the three song demo from the recently formed duo Vile Apparition, belligerently brains you with caveman riffs on the first couple listens, all the while sneakily carving out its own niche between several styles of death metal. Formed, and eventually executed solely by Jamie Colic and Ollie Balantyne (both of whom played on Sewercide’s Immortalized in Suffering), Vile Apparition deal in death metal dichotomies. Their sound is raw, but slamming; ignorant, but technical; groovy, but whiplash-inducingly unpredictable. This is the coupling of technical brutality and putrid rawness you never realized you needed to witness. According to Colic, who plays everything but the drums (for the time being) in Vile Apparition, Atrocious Captivity was just as brutal to birth into manifestation.

Colic: “At the time Ollie and I were living in the same house so we could work whenever we wanted. That seems like it’d be beneficial . . . but we were plagued with a ton of setbacks from people we thought we wanted involved not fulfilling creative obligations, to a hard drive malfunction losing the entire project . . . Initially VA was going to be a nameless collection of three songs I intended to take abroad with me to recruit a lineup for a new project. Ollie was on a break from bands in general but still eager to write music, so we used the three tracks as a means to collaborate again. But the moment it was finished and a period of time had passed it was undeniable we would embark on the project together as a full fledged band. [Atrocious Captivity] took about a month to write, two days to record split between my bedroom and a friend’s house, and a week to mix with infinite fucked up setbacks throughout the whole process.”

To accompany their old school American death metal leanings, their consummate Cryptopsy-summoning moniker, and the 16th century depiction of Hell they cast for their demo cover, Vile Apparition chose to call their debut Atrocious Captivity. When I asked what that meant, Colic admitted:

“We’re actually not too sure what Atrocious Captivity means to be totally honest. We needed a name and at the time we had someone else on vocals who had written lyrics for a couple of songs on the demo, so we chose one of their song titles. Like 3 weeks later my fucking computer died, taking the most recent mix of the demo and the Photoshop file for the artwork with it and forcing us to soldier on using an old Mac with a copy of Garageband on it. Things didn’t end up working out with the vocalist . . . but we managed to salvage a bounce of an earlier instrumental mix from an email and I recorded the vocals over an .mp3 of the instruments (changing the lyrics and song titles in the process), but for artwork we could only find a .jpeg which meant that the title ‘Atrocious Captivity’ was stuck on the cover, so we had to go with it.”

However, in regards to “Featureless Deity,” Colic explains: “The essence of ‘face’ makes something identifiable and perhaps less dangerous. Think back on ‘featureless’ devastators in history, whether fictional (I.e The Thing) or historical (The Zodiac). That inability to associate or assume who or what the entity is brings the horror to a new plateau (not that the song is written about either of those aforementioned examples).”

Born amid struggle, the three tracks that make up Atrocious Captivity speak for themselves. Ballantyne crushes the drums on every second of this demo, going on these blast marathons like turret gun fire chewing up your immediate wake. Meanwhile Colic slays the bass and vox expertly for a guy who supposedly had “fuck all” experience with either of them; to say nothing of his riffs. Because, let’s be honest, this demo is all about the riffs. 

Colic: “We didn’t have a conscious idea of where we wanted to head creatively besides wanting the shit to be oppressive and to push us creatively. I think a ton of contemporary death is implementing a lot of emphasis and focus on atmosphere and the esoteric, and that’s sick but a lot of the time I’d rather be bludgeoned to bloody gibs than be out in orbit circling Saturn. I stress that there is a place for everything but there is definitely an approach that we are more inclined to take with our own music. As for the brutal thing, I think that in this day and age the term conjures imagery of contemporary tech death, slam, deathcore and a lot of stylistic things that aren’t really embraced or relevant to what our collective central interest in music is.”

Atrocious Captivity was released on the final day of July and already the duo have roped the attention of two consistently solid, and heavy hitting underground labels.

According to Colic: “James from Transylvanian was kind enough to express interest in issuing the release . . . We just finished the layout and design for the release so they’ll be off to the plant within the coming weeks with the first press consisting of 100.”

But wait, there’s more. Colic: “We just signed with Memento Mori and are in the embryonic stages of writing our debut LP which will be recorded and issued next year. Besides that we are implementing most of our time and energy on finding the right individuals to fill the lineup in time for us to orchestrate the live massacre January 2018.”

As if the mandatory tape release of Atrocious Captivity wasn’t enough, Memento Mori’s putting out the Vile Apparition full length. That settles it. Don’t let Vile Apparition out of your sight.