VACUOUS "Dreams of Dysphoria" LP (Me Saco Un Ojo Records 2022)
London’s Vacuous finally present their debut album to follow the magnificent 2020 EP “Katabasis”. Greeting you along with the equally gloomy cover-art is an array of spectral and atmospheric Death Metal that is haunting beyond the nightmarish depths of the human mind. Perhaps owing to their fixation on the human psyche, or the equally inescapable reality their music conjures with contorting riffs, rock-solid drumming and bellowed vocals, opening chasms of atmosphere to pour ones own psyche into. Perhaps one of the most unique things about Vacuous is their ability to play such bludgeoning, heavy music while retaining a very anguishing emotional side, lending massively to the cataclysmic ambience of their debut LP. The outcome of this is music that is socially punishing, that will shred your from the inside of your own being while demolishing the corporeal body with massive and malevolent Death Metal excellence spanning the entire record. From eerily dragging moments of graven doom through to the churning malice of sickeningly twisted fury, there is nothing but charnel brilliance on display here in a truly diverse platter of hostilities.
While you could wrongfully assume that there is only simplicity to be found in this style of music, Vacuous have an utterly unique, warped way of writing their songs that is alike no other. From the gloomier moments to the gut-wrenching hooks, there is always something slightly off-kilter here that is disquieting and unfamiliar. This feverish and unwelcoming side of the music is hard to shake, which gives the album a genuinely disturbing factor while the absolutely ferocious Death Metal core is never lost, nor anything short of thrust upon you. It would be an easy trap to pin them into the “old school” micro genre, but this would be doing a disservice as although the real Death Metal spirit of old is here, Vacuous are simply not derivative enough of any specific sound to be pigeon-holed so easily. Listen for yourself and discover this nightmarish tome, but be warned… “Dream of Dysphoria” is a truly prophetic title, as this record might cause psychiatric harm, claustrophobia, sleep-paralysis and all manner of bodily harm.