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Canada's Vile Creature is an anomaly in doom metal. They play a variation of the style that's more Black Flag than Black Sabbath, they don't write songs about drugs or witchcraft, and they describe themselves as "anti-oppressive, queer, vegan doom."


Album Review: VILE CREATURE A Steady Descent Into the Soil

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Canada's Vile Creature is an anomaly in doom metal. They play a variation of the style that's more Black Flag than Black Sabbath, they don't write songs about drugs or witchcraft, and they describe themselves as "anti-oppressive, queer, vegan doom." For some of you reading this review, that last part might be a deal breaker. There's a segment of heavy metal fans who recoil at even the slightest hint of identity politics or social justice in their beloved genre, and Vile Creature wear their commitment to both on their patch-covered battle jackets.

A t-shirt the band was selling on their recent East Coast tour even had "Queer As Fuck" proudly emblazoned across the front. The band's music is confrontational, transgressive, and, most importantly, HEAVY. Vile Creature represents what metal purports to stands for: Questioning authority and "truths" that most people accept unquestioningly. Historically, it's been Christianity that has felt most of heavy metal's wrath, but, with church membership plummeting throughout the Western world, is it really still transgressive to mock and criticize it? Isn't it more transgressive to attack gender identity and homophobia in 2015? When KW screams "My body won't succumb to pressure to conform" on the track "A Constant Yearning to Leave," it's clear that his rage comes from a truer place than Dave Vincent's. And, in a genre so obsessed with authenticity, what's more authentic than "A Steady Descent Into the Soil," a song about waking up in the hospital after a group of guys attacked you simply for being born queer?

A Steady Descent Into the Soil by Vile Creature

It's all well and good to use music as a battering ram against bigotry, but, even if you have the best intentions, you aren't going to make it far in the metal community if your music doesn't hold up. Fortunately, Vile Creature deliver their message using filthy, crusty doom metal that will keep your head banging for the album's entire forty minute run time. The fact that A Steady Descent Into the Soil consists of only drums, a guitar, and some sparse vocals means that the music is going to have a relatively minimalist composition, but the omission of a bassist from the line-up is hardly noticeable. The mastering on the album, courtesy of Adam Tucker who's also responsible for Thou's amazing 2014 LP Heathen, adds plenty of thickness to KW's guitar which is anchored by Vic's measured drumming. Even if you're a pearl-clutching conservative type who objects to the band's message, you can't deny the music itself. A Steady Descent Into the Soil is an undeniably original work in the realm of heavy metal. It's a rare album that combines a righteous message, feral rage, and compelling music. It's easy to get one right and there are plenty of albums that combine two. But to get the hat trick, especially on a debut album, is a singular accomplishment and Vile Creature deserve some recognition for that.

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