Review: “…And The Void Stared Back” by Vigil

Once key members of Onera, Justin Christian and Craig Simas had a vision for a heavier, more aggressive but also beautiful and emotionally raw sound to take into their next project together. To accomplish that vision they made the decision to have two bass players and summoned forth Joe Davis of A World Worth Burning, Dave Petillo, known for his work in Summoning Hate and Untombed and Brandon Phinney of Godcrusher and The Cadaveric Manifesto to breathe life into Vigil. A debut record in the works since 2019 “…And The Void Stared Back” finds the quintet taking the discerning listener by the hand and leading them down the left hand path of sorrow, loss, death and anger…

Kingston, New Hampshire is where Vigil have been hiding, biding their time and making small changes to the arrangements of each of their sonic creations and while their debut EP is only four cuts, it still amounts to more than half an hour of tectonic plate shifting power. Throat shredding vocals from Petillo are accompanied by monolithic riffs fit for worship during the opening strains of “Descend to Extinction” but it’s the clean harmonic vocal moments from Christian and Phinney that prize open the mind with a crowbar. Unexpected and almost ethereal they add a grace to an otherwise brutal cut that you simply don’t see coming. Simas then delivers a ripper of a solo with Death Thrash roots that is nothing short of a lightening bolt from a wrathful demon before some bowel clenching gravelly lows from Petillo threaten to crush the skull from the inside out. A fitting demonstration of power and prowess from a group of seasoned professionals sure of their sound and direction, the opening cut feels like being struck by a wrecking ball. Pushing their boundaries into something that circles Post-Metal like a vulture in search of prey, “Words of a Dying Man” offers ominous melodies with delicate and yet eerie vibrancy accompanied by savage vocals from beyond the abyss. The cavern is but a wall to be scaled and the band deliver a slick transition from that hellish tar pit into Death Groove in stunning fashion to give the middle of the track a real gut punch moment before a brutal onslaught to the finale that the weak may not survive.

The low and slow churning of “Erosion of the Soul” is achieved with the duelling bass guitars from Christian and Davis, a rumbling that reverberates around the brain like the aftershocks of an earthquake, powerful to dislodge any lose bone and start internal bleeding. Despite the larynx threatening vocals from Petillo, which are downright evil, there is still a dark beauty to this one which burns like the eternal flame until the last couple of minutes. Once again the band throw fuel on the fire and watch as the flames lick the sky, a thunderous final couple of minutes of pounding percussive battery and Sludge Metal inspired riffs the kind of brutality that everyone can enjoy. That tempo shift if perfectly placed as Phinney blasts his way through the introduction to “Convulsive Ways from a World Beyond” at breakneck speed for a monstrous 90 second burst of violence that then slows dramatically to build tension. The ebb and flow of this final beast is wonderful, the dark movements make way for delicate nuances that shine through like chinks of light through dark clouds. Heavy is the head that wears the crown and staring into the middle distance as the final notes play out with an almost shoegazing quality, the King can feel the weight of the World on his shoulders [7.5/10]

Track Listing

  1. Descend to Extinction
  2. Words of a Dying Man
  3. Erosion of the Soul
  4. Convulsive Ways from a World Beyond

…And The Void Stared Back” by Vigil is out 29th March 2024 via Argonauta Records and is available over at bandcamp

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