Vials of Wrath’s second full length ‘Days Without Names’ first saw release independently on CD and digital formats in September of 15th, but Fragile Branch Recordings has decided to give the atmospheric black metal album a cassette version with modified artwork and a bonus track. Based out of Maryville, Tennessee, this one-man project has been releasing material since 2011 that has incorporated the atmospheric and melodic influences of bands like Agalloch and Panopticon aside some of the more traditional black metal styles. In advance of the cassette reissue, today we’re excited to run an exclusive stream of the bonus track Within the Grey to give you an idea of everything this project has to offer.
The promotional material for this re-release suggests that Within the Grey was written during the same period as the rest of ‘Days Without Names’, but whatever the case may be it flows seamlessly with the album. Bonus tracks have often been hit or miss when it comes to black metal, with some labels and bands tacking on covers or live recordings that feel like pointless fluff and ultimately don’t add to the original material that much. But Vials of Wrath and Fragile Branch have provided a song that fits perfectly with the seven songs that precede it and close the album out on just as strong of a note. Project creator Dempsey “DC” Mills handles all of the instrumentals and vocals (though there are some guest contributions elsewhere on the album, and while he’s pulling from some familiar territory the sweeping melodies and lighter textures prove to be just as engaging. Within the Grey starts off with acoustic guitar work that gives off a calm, reflective tone, letting the instrumentals portray elements of beauty and melancholy. From there they build up to familiar waves of harsh guitar work that wash over the listener with equal amounts of beauty and abrasiveness, and a few of the passages recall some of that second-wave chill. Mills’ vocals skew towards the harsher side of the spectrum, coming through with screams and shrieks that pierce through the rest of the sound during some of the most intense moments. Vials of Wrath is also able to avoid one of the pitfalls that some of the other one-man projects in this genre sometimes run into, which is awkward transitions between the distorted and acoustic elements of the music. Everything flows seamlessly, and this allows the listener to completely lose themselves in the waves of colder, harsh melodies and their tranquil counterparts.
Like many of you, this reissue of ‘Days Without Names’ is my first exposure to Vials of Wrath and I definitely like what I hear. The flow between reflective, tranquil melodies and harsher riffing is done in a way that feels like it’s transporting me to different parts of the American landscape, and there are plenty of stunning climaxes to keep me coming back. There may be a lot of atmospheric/melodic black metal vying for your attention these days, especially from the U.S., but this project deserves some attention. ‘Days Without Name’ will be out on cassette May 26th from Fragile Branch Recordings.