Most people’s first encounter with Canada’s Vile Creature was 2018 release ‘Cast of Static and Smoke’, a tale of apocalyptic robots trying to escape the end of the world. The unhurried tempo and gritty musical textures combined with the heart wrenching tale woven by the duo’s harrowing lyrics conveyed a Watership Down-esque feel – both traumatic and hopeful at the same time. Vile Creature’s knack for powerful song writing travels right the way back to their (often overlooked) earliest releases ‘A Steady Descent into the Soil’ (LP) and ‘A Pessimistic Doomsayer’ (EP), however, it is on latest album ‘Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm!” that it presents itself at its most developed yet.

The juxtaposition of bright, summery colours with dirt and earthworms, featured on the cover art, is both jarring and beautiful, a perfect depiction of what to expect from the music itself. KW’s riffs are slow and deliberate, often distorted, and made all the more powerful by the violent, cataclysmic percussion of Vic. The sprawling pace of the guitar complements the speedier, punk elements of the drums, resulting in a record that’s neither quite doom or sludge but sits heatedly between the two, incorporating the occasional drone influence. The two-piece share the burden of shouts, shrieks and roars, lending a further venomous dimension to the expansive, vitriolic grind of the instruments.

Too measured to be called sudden, but no less jarring is the change of dynamic on song ‘Glory Glory!’ – the switch to minimalist female choir lasts for a full 7 minutes and has an ethereal hypnotic quality that glides seamlessly into ‘Apathy Took Helm!’ Punctuating the thunderous pounding of the drums and suffocating guitar strains with angelic choral bursts, this closing track is striking and terrifying all at the same time, building towards something that feels epic and tumultuous – if you’ve ever played Final Fantasy 7 and remember the feeling of dread, sweaty palms and chest tightening that any scene with Sephiroth would invoke, then this particular song will bring with it a strong feeling of nostalgia. ‘Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm!’ is a potent work of art and a stunning testament to just how much Vile Creature are evolving and shifting their creative focus in a positive, but no less deadly, direction.

(9/10 Angela Davey)