Sunday, April 16, 2017

Vinyl Review: "My Bones Hold A Stillness" by Vrtra

Like any lover of vinyl grooves, the packaging is part of the experience.

That's why when I do my vinyl reviews on these pages, an unboxing video is included. There are always things to find and enjoy in the vinyl, the sleeve, etc.

Even before my reawakening to wax, I purchased physical copies over 95% of the time. There's nothing like a box arriving, or holding a back from for favorite record store to get me excited about hearing some new music.

There's no romance in searching on iTunes and watching some files download to my phone or to my PC.

Over the past two years of assembling a library of records, it's become apparent to me that the vinyl hipsters were right. The analog grooves are a delicious meal that, when served correctly, never fails to satisfy.

As long as you've got a quality turntable and a quality stereo, it's pretty much impossible to beat the sounds contained on these ancient discs. There's also a tactile pleasure in it.

But, the point of this particular preamble, aside from alluding to my upcoming vinyl manifesto, is to point out something about this particular vinyl review. Unfortunately, this time the label couldn't supply me with the entire package, but only the disc.

Because of that, I cannot speak to the packaging, nor will there be an unboxing video in this review.

What we have today is a review based on two things: The record itself and the music contained therein.

First I'll tell you about the disc at hand. It's built to be ready for war. It's sturdier than most 180 gram spinners. There is precisely zero warping on this disc that's visible to the naked eye. Right now, I'm watching the stylus to see if there's any bobbing and there' nothing at all.

This is the perfect record for showing your anti-vinyl buddies. There's still a strong belief that CDs and MP3s have a better sound quality than the warm analog goodness that we love. However, should you choose not to show your friends, I get it, then there's more limited edition color variant vinyls for us to buy, right?

Seriously, make your friends buy vinyl.

Vrtra is a Californian blackened doom band who eschew the calmness of Southern California. The bigness of their sound reminds me of the beaches of San Francisco when I was there last year. Not so coincidentally, they're also from San Francisco.

Anyone who's not a fan of the double bass drum blasters will find someone to love here. Vrtra's drummer, though somewhat dwarfed by the sheer immensity of the guitars and drums, plays a big man's set on what appears to be a small drum kit.

There's serious power in the kit.

Vocally, that's where the blackened portion of the blackened doom rolls in. I'm somewhat reminded of the deliveries of bands like Twingiant, Junior Bruce, and their ilk. The vocals, though somewhat lacking dynamically, are the front of this giant beast. They sound like an avalanche.

Somewhere between all of that there's a bass player thundering away keeping all of this heavier than it has any right to be.

Under the crushing, there's a melodic guitar scratching...trying to get free. Without this little bit on top, this album could've become just another heavy metal record.

What makes My Bones Hold A Stillness such an achievement is the lack of any stars in this band. It would be hard to pick out a single element and say, this is what makes the album great. Every piece of the puzzle has combined to make Voltron.

There need to be more bands out there trying to form heavy metal Voltron.

Release: Out Now
Genre: Blackened Doom Metal
Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories
Formats: LP/Digital
Purchase

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