Our Cup Runneth Over: Premiering Rejecter’s The Vulgar Wine
On July 30, newcomers Rejecter will release their debut album The Vulgar Wine. Believing that “the rebellious spirit of this music requires experimentation with the elements of the genre,” Rejecter mixes speed metal, gothic, traditional doom, thrash, and just a touch of hardcore into its black metal cauldron. The result is an enjoyable album loaded with crunching riffs, smart solos, and an often pleasantly bouncy rhythm section. Self-styled as “pro-people” and “anti-fascist” RABM, Rejecter creates catchy, melodic black metal for everyone who’s sick and tired of side-eying runic logos, deciphering questionable lyrics, and scanning label catalogues for red flags. This is black metal that Albert Einstein would probably jam.
The Vulgar Wine opens with the fairy tale twinkling of a piano before transitioning into a methodic, atmospheric space, but it is near the two-minute mark of “The Earth is Blood and Gunpowder” that the infernal party truly begins. Very much a blueprint for the rest of The Vulgar Wine, “The Earth is Blood and Gunpowder” takes the listener through thunderous riffs, tasteful leads, and 80s speed demonics, switching up dynamics often enough to keep things interesting but not so often that you can’t take time to enjoy each movement. On the third track “Destra,” Rejecter takes a similar approach but adds a few heady melodic riffs that become a subtle staple of the rest of the album.
In a sense, this is the Rejecter song-writing thesis: build atmosphere, break it apart, blitz the listener, find something melodious, and in every song have a moment or two that will bring them back for more. Whether it’s the funky rhythmics that open “Where Snakes Live,” the dueling bass and guitar work in the middle of “Statue Radiating Equanimity,” the mournful organ in standout “Double Sphinx at the Entrance,” or the odd and almost jazzy solo towards the end of “Freedom,” Rejecter has a knack for crafting good songs with great moments. “Double Sphinx,” in particular, moves from slow build-up to all-out thrash attack to gothic dirge with aplomb. With each subsequent listen, I find myself more and more drawn to The Vulgar Wine, every extra draught a reason to keep drinking. Fortunately, you can refill your cup without end and without hangover.
“By Light of Candle” closes the album, offering up a brief bit of fuzzy drone and deft fretwork that swishes and sloshes like the aromatic dregs at the bottom of a good barrel of wine. It’s a quiet, quick, and soft end to an album that draws together influences and genres like friends around a cozy hearth in winter. In “Why Socialism,” Albert Einstein writes, “Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.” Unlike black metal bands committed to isolation and allergic to any forms of interpersonal dependence or connection, Rejecter is a band to be shared with people. Along with Rejecter and Einstein, we can experience our interconnectedness “as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force.” Take care, beloveds. Take care.