Reviewed: June 2022
Released: 2022, New Standard Elite
Reviewer: Simon Wiedemann
Vulnificus are a brutal death metal band who formed just last year and who consist of two members. Multi-instrumentalist Wilson Sherels has played with Epidermolysis and others, and singer Eston Browne has performed with Abolishing The Ignominious, and Gigan. They are on the New Standard Elite label and will be releasing their latest work ‘Invocation’ on 10th June, 2022. It follows a well-received 2021 EP/demo called ‘Innomination’ unleashed through the same label. Their sound is inspired by old and new extreme bands and is for fans of Defeated Sanity, Cenotaph, and early-Suffocation.
The bass playing is a highlight of the album with its stylish delivery (do I hear the use of a finger to pluck the strings, rather than a plectrum? That automatically makes things sound more sophisticated, in my opinion), and its daring note choices really do go above and beyond the call of duty. Many if not most metal bands are all about the bass simply thickening the overall sound but here, there is genuine adventurousness. However, I have pointed out in other reviews how the bass playing there is similarly good, so don’t get TOO excited, Vulnificus. The drumming isn’t quite so interesting, the most notable feature of it being it’s often very fast. If you like listening to people beat the living s**t out of snares and such, you’re in luck, but don’t expect anything innovative. Speaking of the snare, the drum sounds a little like the one in the notorious St. Anger album, but luckily it’s not quite so extreme. Nice and raw, but not MENTALLY so.
The guitar soloing in track three is raw and cold and it’s a little bit of a surprise it comes from the bassist. In other words, it’s not very good. It’s certainly not too bad, but it doesn’t push the boundaries in any way. Rather it mimics the style of Mayhem’s Euronymous. He’s not exactly regarded as a virtuoso, but I guess that’s not the point. He was clearly mental and weirdly, that may be more important to some. The fuzzy guitar riffs are perfectly reasonable, if typical. Perhaps not quite as cool as the bass noodling, but nice and heavy. The whole sound often switches from rampant to mid paced and sludgy and there is not a single nice note to be heard. Some DM bands go mellow from time to time, but these guys don’t mess around. Now to move onto the singing: What the flip is he going on about? Yep, you guessed it: Non-stop grunts. Do they stand out in any way? Not really.
In conclusion, whilst Wilson is a multi-instrumentalist technically speaking, his guitar solos are not so good. If Wilson plays all his instruments at the same time however, he really does deserve genuine respect, but I don’t know about that, to be honest. It sounds unlikely to me. It’s a joy to listen to the bassist exploring the lower and higher parts of his instrument and if he took things any further, it would almost be like the bass is the most important feature of the music, which would be very odd. I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard a metal band where that’s the case. If I did, I would wonder why. But it doesn’t sound like that. Mmm. Just right. Certainly give this a try if you like super busy music, but is it brutal? I for one wasn’t really thinking ‘wow, this is so heavy’, rather I was thinking ‘this is very over the top’. But it’s still fairly decent.