Released: 2013, Indie
Alberta Assault! In early 2014 Calgary, Alberta will be hosting the WACKEN METAL BATTLE. This contest has regional acts perform to audiences and judges who then decide who gets to go further in the contest, with the winner getting a trip to perform at Wacken. Visit http://www.metalbattle.ca
for more details. This is a good a time as any to do my bi-annual, quick, regional round-up of releases from Alberta Metal bands. Even though not all of these bands may be competing in WMB, I’d like to thank the bands who provided review copies for me for my radio show and Metal-Rules.com. The bands are Armifera, Black Pestilence, Bloated Pig, Enemyus, Exit Strategy, Ides Of Winter, Kataplexis, Misanthropy, Scythia, Throne Of Vengeance, Trollband, Vile Insignia and Villainizer. Please feel free to check out the other reviews in this feature.
Vile Insignia easily is one of Calgary heaviest bands. They have been working in town for only a couple of years and early in 2013 released their debut, self-titled EP. The EP is really barebones in terms of presentation. I’d hate to simply classify it as a mere ‘demo’ as it is way to good for that but is a budget production. There is no booklet, just a single sheet cover with no photos, no lyrics or notes not even cover art, just the band logo printed white on black. I understand that music is the primary focus but presentation is important in a competitive market with over 150 active bands in Alberta alone.
The four song EP runs half an hour due to the long and complex arrangements, the longest cut being the 10+ minute cut, ‘Morbid Tales Of Bloodshed’. The long songs contribute to a really intense listening experience as the songs are quite relentless. The quintet have written some very layered and dense songs but without getting all progressive and super-technical with bizarre time signatures and staccato shifts. There is a very driving fore that pummels along keeping the speed and intensity very high. The vocals shift back and forth between a more death infused growl/roar and a more conventional Black Metal shriek/hiss sound. Either way it is great!
Describing Vile Insignia is a bit like the old joke about the zebra when he is asked, “Are you a black zebra with white stripes or a white zebra with black stripes?’. In the case of Vile Insignia are they a Blackened Death Metal band or a Death influenced Black Metal band? You can be the judge because their debut EP is worth investigating.