Review: Vile Insignia –‘Bestial Invocation’

Canada is a country that never ceases to amaze me with its ever increasing, superb collection of Metal bands. My latest discovery are Calgary’s Black /Death quintet, Vile Insignia and their debut full length ‘Bestial Invocation’, which follows a four track demo released in 2013.

They draw their influences from bands as far ranging as Behemoth, Belphegor, Vital Remains, Negator, and Emperor, so naturally, you can expect to pick up on this in the overall sound to a lesser extent. As a band, they do bring much of their own style into the overall mix with a sound that is both heavy and fast. There is a slight technical edge to the riffs, which are quite complex at times, and the vocal delivery is just superb, consisting of a higher vitriolic scream and a lower growl, with a good degree of clarity to the lyrical content, all from the competent and powerful pipes of Cody Emms. The drum work from Aaron Panichis pretty impressive too, powerful, intense, and excessively abundant in cymbal work, which always appeals to me. Backing this up is the guitar work of Jesse Nyboe and Don Atkinson, along with subtle, but notable, bass lines of Devan Shandilya.

Vile Insignia offer a ten track album that will have you transfixed from start to end, beginning with the ’Intro’, a mix of bestial growls, and clanking chains, with a subtle hint of symphonic keyboards, which is great mood builder and a perfect backdrop to the very blackened ‘Enslaved Possession’, which opens on a huge scream over a blackened, haunting repeat riff. Midway, the tempo ramps up, creating a well-constructed and varied track. At this point I am completely won over and excited about the rest of the release, a superb start.

Shorter in duration, but by no means a lesser track, ‘Reich Of Evil’ is faster, with great swathes of crashing cymbals offset against the intense wall of riffing. ‘Desecration Through Blasphemy’ is the perfect mix of black and death, with very slick tempo and direction switching across its length plummeting to morbidly deathly depths midway.

Opening on drumbeats and screams ‘The Infernal Siege’ takes on a slower pace and I was struck by how the bass work emerges more, adding more depth the intense blackened riffs, also a superb sense of dialogue between the higher screams and deeper growls, the drum work pummelling more to the forefront also in the second half.

‘Incarnation Of Torment’ has superb military drumbeats coursing across the first half, the tempo assuming manic speeds in the second half. ‘Sermons Of Anguish’ has opening riffs that rise and fall in rapid waves, and reappear as a repeat alongside stomach-churning screams and ground-shaking growls.

If I had thought that ‘Vile Insignia’ couldn’t play any faster, I wasn’t ready for the high speed delivery of the first half of ‘Ritualistic Inquisition’. The pace slows for a while in the second half, but the intensity remains, and the basslines come through nicely again under the superbly unrelenting drumming.

The haunting intro of ‘Bestial Invocation’ builds with the arrival of the drums, before changing to more military beats and blackened riffs. The vocals, growls and screams arriving with a similar impact. This is a track with a lot of powerful drive, the brief midpoint drop only adding more power and impact when the blackened rhythms return.

Final track, and album monster, at just over ten minutes duration, ‘Morbid Tales Of Bloodshed’, which also featured on their self-titled four track EP. Here, the version is more crisp and polished, compared to the demo, as you would expect. It opens on a blood curdling scream, and an extended building intro. Once the vocals kick in, there is a great contrast between the guitars, which have a dark groove and the deep, throaty vocal growls.

It’s hard to believe ‘Bestial Invocation’ is the first full length from Vile Insignia. It demonstrates huge capability and maturity, and is a superb listen. The album is independently released, and available from the band via their official Facebook page.

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Review: Jools Green

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