Label: Corpse Flower
Reviewed by Mr.Metalguy
“Vessel” is, in a word, stupid. You know, like how the kids say. I mean, I’m tired just listening to it. Busy, busy, busy.
Four years removed from their punishing debut, Theories are back, less one front man and on a boutique label. “Regression” was a lean affair, heavy on grind with a peppering of death and not breaching the 30 minute mark in run time (everybody now, SLAYEEEEEERRRR) and was a great introduction to exactly what Theories represented at that time in their nascent stages. The aptly titled “Vessel” is definitely a step forward for the band, propelled by the absolute tornado of skinsman Joe Axler, who is on this record like white on rice I tell you what. I mean, he was there on “Regression” as well, but holy sufferin’ Jesus.
I have no idea what happened within the last four years in the Theories camp. I do know I have seen the band live and needed a nap after, the sheer heaviness they brought along with a clinic in speed was something to behold. Expecting a similar outing and not having paid any attention to pre-release output, I pressed play on my promo and was quickly greeted with lead single “Human Vessel Cell,” a serviceable introduction to the album and the mission of Theories this time around. The drums and bass totally slap the listening around a bit while the guitar watches and smirks and then something very, very interesting happens by the time “Harvest” gets going: Theories become, at once, the sum of their parts.
For those not in the know, Theories is made up of folks who have been in different bands (shocking truth revealed) and played wildly different forms of metal. “Harvest” shows the listener everything in its four minutes and then some, basking in the delicious ragout of influence from both within and without the players, everything from doom to black metal nods on full display. Oh, and then “Ill Will” rips your face clean off and pours salt in your eyes.
It would be a slight offence to label Theories as strictly a grind band at this point. Death grind, sure, but with a healthy dose of sludge and experimental tendencies as well, the band unafraid to stretch out its sound. Honestly, there are some changes here that are the audio equivalent of shortness of breath and heart palpitations – “Vessel” is that exciting of a listen. It is also longer, approaching 40 minutes, so really allowing for a deeper exploration of just what makes Theories tick.
I said the album was busy and I can’t think of another word to describe its manic ferocity, nor its at times sluggish nature when the tones are low and slow, always threatening to explode in a serene battering of the senses. Get on board this “Vessel” and enjoy the ride. There are many choppy bits of this ocean to navigate, and calm waters are not in the forecast.
1. Human Vessel Cell
3. Ill Will
7. Slow Poison
8. Hospital Hangover
9. Taking Up Space