Album Review: THEORIES Vessel
Theories have been grinding it out (literally!) in the death metal and grindcore underground for years. They have for a long time been a personal favorite in this genre. They have always had a ton of potential, and it's rare to find a grind band so dedicated to the craft. Theories are a band who, from day one, toured relentlessly. They grind unabated towards new heights with every record. There is a breadth to their sound on Vessel though that takes them to a whole new level. It speaks to the crushing heaviness of the band and their desire to push beyond their comfort zone. With huge leaps forward in songwriting and production on Vessel, it's easy to see why this release feels like the band is taking the throne by force.
Theories have made a name for themselves over the years slugging it out in the dark cobwebs of the underground—now they're primed for ascension. By embracing new elements not found on previous offerings, Vessel brings high energy and an infinitely loud testimony to the magic of the underground scene.
At the core of this record is Joe Grindo's truly thrilling drum performance. Andy Patterson at Boar's Nest Studios (Call Of The Void, Subrosa) does an amazing job giving the drums an "old school" nuance. The raw energy they deliver with this is thrilling. There are weird experiments here, and even, dare I say it, a guitar solo! The prog inspired elements on the album closer, 'Hollow', speaks to what the band has been able to embrace. Everything about Vessel sounds massive, but it remains humble. Rather than try to step up by denying their roots, the band doubles down on them. As the drum tone attests, Theories are the sort of band who seem to want to keep crushing. There is no desire to leave the scene behind, and that makes Vessel all the more endearing. They lean into what differentiates them. They want to crack your skull, sip your brains out then throw you back in the pit. It's this intensity that makes this music so fascinating to me.
Vessel is a twisted sonic journey. It can be dark and brooding at times while in your face and incredibly virile at others. The band touches several dark emotions and it makes for potent listening. While certain twists seem weird, others almost feel like an inversion of norms. While not all of this is executed well, it's great that it is there. It's not something not frequently heard in the context of grindcore. Theories are unafraid to push at the boundaries a little. This is a release that never lets up. It's abrasive and brutal, scary and over the top.
Vessel speaks to the band's ability to crank it ever louder and blast ever faster. The madness of the group is hard to fully digest at times but that's the charm of it—there is absolution in the madness. When this band wants to deliver, they do no matter what. It is full-on grindcore unafraid to push the boundaries a little. Be prepared for a gut punch of a record.