Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vomitchapel of Love

In the course of my work at the music store and due to my voracious appetite for music in general, I read a lot of sales notes, or one-sheets, covering many musical genres. Indeed, this information is designed to help stores like ours, or a consumer like me, decide on what or what not to stock or add to a collection. This is obviously most useful in the case of new or previously unheard bands and artists. And if there is one particular kind of one-sheet I really enjoy reading, it is those for forthcoming Heavy Metal releases. It's actually a writing gig I'd love to get, as there is so often the need to use really delicious language. But, as illustrated below, the real fun comes with the more extreme end of the genre, where a writer can, and frequently does, run riot!

Apart from a Deep Purple anthology, a (guilty pleasure) Rainbow CD, and the 2009 deluxe Black Sabbath remasters (the Ozzy years, obviously), I have not purchased what could be termed a Heavy Metal album in over twenty years. I just don't listen to it anymore, but I do remain fascinated by the genre. It has evolved (though many traditionalists would claim devolved) and mutated into many different sub-genres: just this week I found myself compelled to examine a CD of "epic Roman metal" by the Montreal band, Ex Deo, whose entire lyrical output concerns the history of the Roman Empire. Awesome! Also this week I had a conversation with my wife Susan's boss' son, who loves all this kind of stuff, about the Icelandic "Viking folk-metal" band Skalmold, and Tyr, the first band I've ever heard of to come from the Faroe Islands! My fascination does not extend to the desire to listen - give me Belle & Sebastian any day - but the lyrical themes, imagery and slavish devotion of their fans (Susan's boss' son's fandom has led to him joining a Viking battle reenactment society) inexplicably holds me spellbound.

And then there is the truly extreme, musically terrifying end of the spectrum, represented by bands like Cannibal Corpse and, stroll on, Cattle Decapitation. (Please be warned if following those links, as there's some pretty sick imagery and content therein.) If anything, I am even more fascinated by this stuff because, as hard as I try, I struggle to find any redeeming features whatsoever about what these bands do. That is exactly why I am so intrigued! Let's face it, the 'music' is a horrifying, sludgy racket: I've heard more melodious road drills; although often dressed up as political commentary it appears the lyrics are designed only to shock and sicken, and the artwork is often repulsive. Whatever, art is art is art, but what fascinates me most is that a lot of people buy this stuff, take it home and listen to it. What do they hear that is so satisfying? Even if the lyrics - like those of Napalm Death, for example - do express genuinely intelligent and articulate political viewpoints, the usual growling, grunting vocal style of this kind of band means that the message is lost. Then the music is often so harsh, so brutal, that one may as well indeed listen to the aforementioned road drill, as there is no real difference in sonic qualities. On top of all this, what's with the widespread preoccupation with mutilation, surgery and medical procedures that produces 'song' titles like Colonic Villus Biopsy Performed on the Gastro-intestinally Incapable (Cattle Decapitation) or, one of Carcass' more conservatively titled ditties, Hepatic Tissue Fermentation II? There's tons of this stuff around and it's often stomach-churning, but here's the rub - and I know I'm not alone in thinking this - I find it all extremely amusing! I mean, surely it's impossible to take seriously, so how can I not?

So, to this end, I stumbled across a spectacular one-sheet of this nature this week, so felt compelled to share it with you. This 'band' is one that, like so many of its contemporaries, boasts a logo in a totally illegible gothic font. That's it above. If you stare squintingly at it for, ooh, six or so hours, you might eventually be able to discern that it says VOMITCHAPEL. Yes, the name of this musical turn is Vomitchapel. Splendid. And this is what the one-sheet has to say:

The debut album of barbaric and depraved black/death metal, 'The House of the Lord Despoiled,' is a bestial, perverted attack on all that is holy. A bulldozer attack of 10 sordid hymns to the flesh and the mockery of christ. (Note small 'c'.) VOMITCHAPEL embodies the desecration of the nazarene and the rape of holiness. Inspired by bands such as Black Witchery, Profanatica, Archgoat and Blasphemy, with ragged, rust-hewn guitars, a distorted bass attack, pounding drums and abysmal, sickening vocals, this album proves to be one of the most depraved and caustic attacks of the year.

Woo-hoo! Oh, to be unleashed on copy like this! What a blast it would be, eh? Besides, I could dream up more than one alternative to the word 'attack'! Next comes the tracklisting:

Intro-Incestuous Genesis / Immaculate Defilement / Lubrication Rites / Vaginal Sepulchre / Flesh For Your Lord / Corpse and Serpent / Carnal Hammer / Sacrificial Orifice / Gaping Perversion / Passage of Doom

Mmmm, yummy. That the least worrying title here is arguably Passage of Doom, and even that depends on interpretation, it would appear from these titles and the other evidence presented thus far that The House of the Lord Despoiled is a fairly nasty little record. Shall we learn about who made it?

Line-up: GHOATVOMIT - All instruments, artwork, design (Father Befouled Encoffination)

Oh, my sides! It would appear that this is the work of just one person - if, once you've heard Vomitchapel by following this link, it can be confirmed that the album's architect is in fact a human being. Go on, I dare you, follow that link and press play at the foot of the page. You will not believe your ears!

But, hey, despite his or her's fun description of this new musical product, the person responsible for creating the one-sheet was obviously well off their A-game when doing so, as this is not Vomitchapel's debut release. The first widely distributed release, perhaps, but as minimal research would inform anyone, there is in fact a predecessor in the form of the cheerfully entitled Damnatio Ad Bestias. It was released on vinyl only, curiously limited to 367 copies, and containing such Vomitchapel smash hits as Circle of Sodomy and Vomit Falls Upon Salvation.

Anyway, if the delightful Vomitchapel is your (sick) bag, you will be able to pick it up from December 11th 2012 on Vancouver's Avocado Records - who, if they're reading, should probably hire me to create the next Vomitchapel one-sheet.          


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