INAMORATA: VILIPEND’S BARBED WIRE SWEATER OF AN ALBUM
There’s nothing new to what Vilipend do: it’s the sort of discordant, sludgy hardcore previously brought to you by bathing-averse grouches like Botch or Deadguy. But there’s an uneasiness that never quite settles in to something familiar or comfortable. The sort of tautness that’s constantly on hand is reactive nervousness, like they’ll have to ward something off at any moment but not sure when. But the thing with a lot of music like this is that, eventually, the tension subsides. But for Vilipend, especially on their latest, Inamorata, it never does. At best, they settle into something quiet, but even then, there’s an ominousness to it, like trying to nap with a hangover at three in the afternoon when it’s still light out. Made up of seemingly nothing but sharp edges and blunted corners, it’s a fascinating 45 minutes of your time.
Hailing from Canada, which brought you socialized medicine and Rick Moranis but also Wold and Cryptopsy, Vilipend specialize in running the gamut of barbed, midpaced stomps and methodical trudges that move along consistently. And yes, those two are basically the same thing: the band move up to a d-beat once or twice and down into something resembling a mosh part just as often. But instead of becoming monotonous, it’s a great, unflinching look at ugliness. Whereas other bands similar to them would be interested in the theatrics of fast or dramatically slow tempos, Vilipend dwell in the present. Not that we don’t all love chugs and white-knuckled grind-speed, but there’s a refreshing honesty to presenting unpleasantry in its most natural, unaltered state.
The vocals on Inamorata are… fine. They tend to fall on the side of obnoxious than “obnoxious” more often than not, but they’re not lousy enough to be distracting. I point that out because the rest of Vilipend are so fascinatingly in tune with eachother. Granted, calling out sub-par vocals in heavy music is a little like complaining about too many puddles on a rainy day: there’s a good chance you’re going to run into them anyway, so it’s usually best to ignore them. And in this case, it’s not like there isn’t plenty to focus on otherwise: the guitars are two independent jangling channels of unease, the bass is a sneering and writhing undercurrent, and the drums go batshit most of the time. Inamorata gives you little feel good about, but in a great way. Other bands afford you the luxury of looking away, but Vilipend keep you right there.
(3 ½ out of 5 horns)