Review: Vastum – Inward to Gethsemane
A rocker, a roller, an out-of-controller!
Do you ever wonder how the articles get divided up here at Toilet ov Hell? You probably think we have a Discord somewhere, along with extensive email lists, where all the admins let us know what’s available, and all us writers pick and choose what speaks to us most to write about at our own pace and convenience. Well ol’ Bobert GK is here to tell you, YOU COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG! The reality is Rolderathis pits us against each other in an underground combat arena of his own design, and 365 Days of Horror calls out the band names who have new releases over a loudspeaker. Whoever wants it most has to summon the courage of a true warrior, then fight to the death in a sadistic version of the Thunderdome!
Sure it SOUNDS cool, but did you know I had to kill 3 other writers and permanently maim Joaquin Stick for the chance to write about Vastum? I’m not sure why Roldy likes the third Mad Max movie so much, it’s easily the weakest of the franchise (Sorry Tina Turner). Did anyone else notice the gyro captain from Road Warrior is also in the Beyond Thunderdome? He plays a guy who also flies an aircraft but for some reason it’s not the same character and we aren’t supposed to recognize him from the last movie. Those movies may have been released 4 years apart, but when you watch them back to back it’s kinda confusing. Weren’t those guys friends? What happened here!?
Look, the new Vastum record has nothing to do with George Miller’s late ’70s/early ’80s post-apocalyptic film trilogy, but I’d be willing to bet if we hit play on the album during the fight between Max and Blaster you’d find some sort of magic just like people do playing Pink Floyd over The Wizard of Oz. Trust me, I briefly tried it. It didn’t suck, and Dark Side of Oz is overrated after the first play through. Anyways, Inward to Gethsemane is a gloomy, down-tuned, filthy sounding record, with thoughtful transitions and catchy riffs in all the right places. I was fortunate enough to become aware of this band in 2011 when they released Carnal Law and I’m happy to report they have not lost their magic. If anything they’ve taken their own unique brand of death metal and incorporated a little extra speed here and there to really keep the pace flowing. Lineup changes be damned, Vastum still sounds like Vastum. Their music is best suited for those of us who secretly want to live in a cave covered in muck and create exactly that sense of atmosphere.
I’ll openly admit I’m a total sucker for when this band settles into a solid groove. “Stillborn Eternity” is a great example of just how well this band can push their signature mid-tempo shred riffs while simultaneously encouraging a circle pit. It’s a hard line to walk. Most of the time I’d be bored silly waiting for the fun parts, but Vastum always has their eye on the ball in terms of song progression. They create a sort of evil melody, then slowly build and shape it with shifting drum beats and transitions just technical enough to be appreciated by a seasoned listener, but not so dense as to be off-putting for people who dislike showy nonsense. If they go about repeating themselves, it’s usually in service of a guitar solo or some other piece of haunting sonic debauchery. Take it from me, I absolutely hate long songs that don’t go anywhere. Nearly every track on this album breaks the 5 minute mark and I am NOT complaining. If your attention span allows for it, it pays to be an active listener on this one.
As an added bonus, I was a little slow on the uptake in reviewing this one. With a release date of November 10, 2023, it’s likely that anyone reading this won’t have to wait to stream the whole thing. Lucky you!
4.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
Inward to Gethsemane is out now!