Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: Victims of Creation - Symmetry Of Our Plagued Existence (2013)

Victims of Creation [ Facebook ]
Symmetry Of Our Plagued Existence
Cyclone Empire

Victims of Creation - Symmetry Of Our Plagued Existence
Victims of Creation is a band from the island nation of Malta that has been toiling away in their local club circuit since 1994, but until now has yet to release an album of any sort. After many years of lineup turbulence and stylistic experimentation, the band has finally put together their debut release Symmetry Of Our Plagued Existence. Reflective of the Doom/death style of early My Dying Bride and Katatonia, the Victims of Creation sound on display during this album is rooted in oppressively heavy riffs delivered at a plodding pace.

The key word in that opening description is plodding, for each of the five lengthy songs on Symmetry Of Our Plagued Existence rarely exceeds even a moderate tempo. Ultra slow drone Doom is not quite the band's forte, though there are brief periods where the album gets bogged down in a sludgy morass of extended note reverb. The first song, "Chapter XXIII", is perhaps the most up-tempo of the album's tracks. After rainstorm sound effects complete with distant foghorn, guitarists AJ Burd and Daniel Bartolo put together an interesting array of disharmonic riffs over which frontman (and bassist) Rex delivers his grumbling death metal vocals. Over the course of the album, Rex delivers both his death vox and clean, old-school Doom styled singing in about equal proportions. He's competent in each, though his harsh style isn't quite on par with some of the vocalists he's influenced by.

Victims of Creation
Burd and Bartolo frequently break away from their trudging riffs to execute some rather interesting solos. The one embedded in "Chapter XXIII" is quite noodly in style while "The Glorious Deceit" is graced with a nice, soulful solo that hints at a bit of an Iommi influence. The guitarists also put together some nice moods to break up the oppressive atmosphere, such as a very pleasant passage within "Tree of Iniquity" that's built upon wistful leads and a sorrowful bass line from Rex. That particular moment is an album highlight since it detours away from the raw bleakness embraced by the majority of Symmetry Of Our Plagued Existence. Still morose, the little side journeys such as this one contain the band's most genuine expressions of depression.

The final song of the album, "Those Left Behind", best exhibits the process of style evolution that Victims of Creation has undergone in putting together the music for their debut. Like the other four songs, "Those Left Behind" is an epic, meandering composition that contains a number of discernible influences yet doesn't quite feel "whole". The riffs are perhaps the most melodic to be heard on the album, but they're followed by some of the most disharmonic chords the band is able to put together. After five minutes of complete silence (a gimmick that always annoys me), the band returns to wrap up the album with a very quiet, somber guitar piece.

Symmetry Of Our Plagued Existence is an album that will appeal to fans of slow-burning Doom/death as well as to listeners who prefer their music to frequently deviate from established conventions. The album is more oppressive then depressive, though, making it a tough listen for those expecting melody and mood.

Track Listing
1Chapter XXIII12:23
2Tree of Iniquity8:36
3The Art of Despair10:57
4The Glorious Deceit11:41
5Those Left Behind22:27
Total Runtime1:06:04

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