Vantablack Warship - Abrasive Pulmonic Speak - (6/10)
Published on February 3, 2018
Genre:Groove / Thrash / Punk
It took approximately five seconds to start sneering at the “death/thrash” tag under which the debut by Vantablack Warship found its way to me. A high-pitched yell about dead rockstars turning into a grooving riff is definitely not even close to something commonly associated with death/thrash like, say, Beneath the Remains. But fine, with that out of the way, one can still enjoy a fun little (literally – this thing lasts just under 25 minutes) groove metal album, right? Right?!
Sure enough, the Canadian squad has a few things working in their favor on this album – the sound gets a golden sticker, it’s heavy and has a nice and audible rumbling bass. The majority of the riffs salute Pantera and the groovier tunes Prong (actually a major influence here, with a somewhat stripped-down approach). Sadly, Vantablack Warship don’t quite have the varied riff-writing approach, nor the punk influences of the latter. As usual with the groove approach – whenever the band throws in something crunchier or more melodic, such as in “Ruderails”, things get noticeably more fun.
What doesn’t help is that the tracks are very short. Even after multiple spins, there is very little you will remember besides “Blood On The Mat” – a rather upbeat rocker musically (though with obscene lyrics), and the closing “Crisis”, which is significantly sludgier than any other song on here, sounding more like Down than anything else, with a nifty little solo and really effective gang vocals. The closer actually stands head and shoulders above the rest of the material on Abrasive Pulmonic Speak.
The aforementioned high-pitched vocals definitely distract the listener from the overall experience. They remain thankfully somewhere in the middle of the mix (where they should be), as their one-dimensional and obnoxious style gets tiring even before this short album comes to an end. This leaves the riffs to do most of the heavy lifting, and while competent, they simply are not distinct or memorable enough to make a lasting impact. Thrash riffs are few, death metal riffs completely absent, and the rhythm section sounds solid, but not spectacular.
In the end, Vantablack Warship’s debut is barely above average. Short is good if the band keeps the intensity all the time, however, Abrasive Pulmonic Speak will neither bash your skull in, nor offer developed songwriting. A few inspired ideas, competent playing and a solid production job aside, this album is just… there. Uneventfully, it passes. I’ll give it half a point extra for “Crisis”, but I don’t see myself spinning this again anytime soon. Live, though, I can easily imagine Vantablack Warship’s music shutting me the hell up.