(By David ‘Sunshine’ LaMay, Staff Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
Coming onto the scene in 2013, with the demolition-inclined ‘Lightning Medicine’, the band laid it straight out. The name they’d chosen fit their look and sound to a ‘T’. It was a very convincing début of psych, doom, and sludge, but, for reasons I still couldn’t pinpoint, I felt there had to be more.
Now, four years later, ‘Vae Victus‘ fills in the blanks of what was missing in a confident, pummeling fashion. The trio’s sophomore effort is best initially approached in movie sequel terms – More of everything!
Immediately, the strides forward are obvious. The guitars roar abrasively louder, but with more groove, texture and melody, sublime as it all may be. Vocally, things vary from innard-retching howls to whispers of melancholy and every stop along the route. The rhythms are fat, smooth and nicely defined.
With Dylan A. Rogers on bass, Alex Bytnar on drums, and Bobby James on guitar, instrumentally, the chops have definitely grown. So, what about the six songs?
Now this is where ‘Vae Victus‘ really outshines its predecessor. Whereas the début seemed to struggle with passage transition and interludes, this time around, every song feels fully formed and well-plotted out. The dynamics are played up to maximum effect, as well.
The heavy aspects are intent upon turning bones to powder, while mellow interludes dreamily allow your ears to refresh themselves before the assault begins, yet again.
The Wounded ones deserve praise for knowing that full-on, every minute dilutes power and versatility. ‘Emmanentize The Eschaton‘ will definitely throw a few for a loop, with its 60’s garage intro and psychedelic pastiche that ultimately grows into a snarling predator by track end.
Add it all up and ‘Vae Victus‘ is a complete winner. This is as potent and well crafted as the best offerings the doom and sludge genres have seen up to this point.
Put these boys on tour with the similarly minded Texan maniacs Destroyer Of Light, and towns hosting their gigs would burn ceaselessly for weeks after.
VAE VICTUS – Track List:
1. Vae Victis
3. Immanentize The Eschaton (Jim Jones Instrumental)
4. Scum Of The Earth
5. The Room Of The Torch
6. Green Scar
Wounded Giant also has some tour dates in the Western U.S. Go check them out if you can!
- Jul 24 Til-Two Club, San Diego, CA
- Jul 25 Bunkhouse, Las Vegas, NV
- Jul 26 Club Red, Mesa, AZ
- Jul 27 Moonlight Lounge, Albuquerque, NM
- Aug 02 The “PIN”, Spokane, WA
- Aug 03 The Shakedown, Bellingham, WA
- Aug 05 Funhouse, Seattle, WA