I first came across Video Nasties, a 5-piece Liverpool-based band who can be best described as a blackened and grizzly tribute to John Carpenter. By blending the heaviness and harshness of Entombed and Carcass with the cinematic power of Carpenter’s 80’s works and a good dose of post-punk, goth and sleazy rock like The Cure, The Cult, Dead Kennedys, Killing Joke and T.S.O.L., Video Nasties have a very unique sound which you cannot really pin a label on, much like one of the bands they share a label with; PIST. Harsh, Grizzly, Blackened and loaded with groove, they’re a musical force of nature and this debut offering, “Dominion” I can safely say promises so much.
So, cutting right to the chase, this is a quality album.
There is something about the way the Blackened influences mixed with that cult-horror feel of Carpenter just clicks. It’s not overly atmospheric or oppressing like straight up Black Metal, but it does share a lot of musical similarities with it. The harsh and biting distortion reminiscent of that ol’ HM-2 sound favoured by a lot of extreme metal bands from the early 90’s provides the backbone of the release. Thick and uncompromising, walls of chunky chords and powerful pedal tone based riffs provide the main melodic outlet of the rhythm section whilst the drums and bass bring the pounding and thunderous low end. The harsh vocals, effortlessly switching from a rasping snarl to scathing shrieks help give the music a cutting edge and in all, it is a well-rounded sound with only one weakness – it is very divisive. You will either appreciate/love it or you’ll hate it.
From a brief opening sample at the start of “Stay Gold”, the opening track of the album, the release doesn’t really take its foot off the gas or let up. Whether it’s fast paced and surging or a more controlled pace which has plenty of chug and thunder behind it, the 10 tracks on “Dominion” offer plenty. “Helvetica” has a great rhythmic hook with some slick melodic lines. The guitars shift from buzzing lines which help up the intensity to a headbang friendly groove of tight chugs and low-end crunch. “Transvoltum”, a track which was put out as a single/sample of things to come before the release of ‘Dominion’ carries the same approach as “Helvetica” but it plays more to the crushing blackened elements of the track with its expressive delivery and slightly oppressive atmosphere. “Red Of Night” is best described as Sleazy Goth Rock meets Scandinavian Extreme Metal. It evokes mental images of smoky underground night clubs in the 80’s but to the soundtrack of a slasher film. It’s the perfect example of how the band’s influences meet and combine to create their sound.
“Viva Death”, another track the band had offered up prior to the recording of this release feels more cinematic. It’s slow and hypnotic intro of droning effects and melodic lines explodes to life with a fearsome snarl. Groove-laden hooks for the chorus section up the intensity in contrast to the steady chugs of the verse and the vocals, again dancing between snarl and scream help paint a vivid and grizzly image found in the lyrics. “Stabbing Nightmare” embraces the Entombed vibes, playing up on the dramatics and intense pounding rhythm driven attack. Loaded with headbanging riffs, stabbing and hammering chug sections and some filthy vocal work, it again shows off yet another side to the band. Whilst the sound may be similar across the tracks I have highlighted, each one feels totally unique, either by the way it is delivered or simply the atmosphere it creates. The same can be said for the other tracks on the release – the delivery and the overall atmospheric impact each track has is powerful.
“Dominion”, the titular effort is a short synthwave based track, acting as a transition/intro to the closing effort “They Rise”. The track picks up from the synth into a brief distorted droning before it erupts to life with some big sleazy groove-laden riffs and the subtle electronic feel still lingers on the edge of your senses as it continues. A powerful melodic chord heavy chorus section works well with the ferocious screamed vocals and as the track progresses, the twin buzzing melodic lines start to surface along with build-up feel sections and heavy pounding chugs which have a very compelling groove to them which makes you want to move along with the riffs before it picks up the intensity with a lead melodic section which evolves into a faster and more furious section with walls of chords and piercing vocal screams which sets up the closing twin guitar harmony and lead section which caps the track off before it trails out into a sample based finish.
In all, “Dominion” is one hell of a debut album. There is no ‘hometown bias’ here from me, this Liverpool five piece have put one hell of an album together and with the fanbase they have built themselves through their phenomenal live performances, they are only going to steal the show on each and every live slot offered to them. Keep an eye out for this filthy five-piece, grab this album, catch them live, let them assert their dominion over you.