By: Simon Anger

Vaulting |  facebook |  bandcamp | 

Released on September 14, 2016 via Independent

Vaulting are a death/grind band hailing from Germany formed in 2006 by brothers Sebastian and Matthias Gathof. Their new EP Vanitas is their first release in 5 years since 2011’s debut album Nucleus. Five years is a long time between releases, but it is clear on this 6 song EP that the band have carefully honed and refined their craft for an intense master class in technical and extreme brutality. From start to finish Vanitas will surprise you with its guitar wizardry, frantic drums and unpredictable song structures that mean you never know what’s coming next, but want to keep coming back for more.

Like a jackhammer to the face, this EP hits you from out of nowhere. With no build up or intro to prepare you, Vanitas starts full pelt showing the band as a relentless force ready to crush your skull with opener ‘Fisch’. This song immediately shows you what the band is about with blistering speed and technical riffs not afraid to go to the higher register and make full use of the guitar neck.

What impresses me most is the variety in the compositions. The band aren’t afraid of dynamic diversity and happily throw in groovier sections to get you nodding along, which is shown as early as halfway through the first track. This is clearly a band that do things their own way.

Unlike most death/grind bands, vocalist Felix doesn’t just stick to the low death growls throughout the whole EP. Whilst they may not be for everyone, the vocals at times go to the higher register making him sound like a man at the edge of his sanity.

Just to make sure you’re still paying attention, third track ‘Arnold’ comes at you full force with a riff that will be stuck in your head for days and make you jealous you didn’t think of it, showing a level of riff mastery so rarely demonstrated in the death/grind genre.

Stand out track on the EP has to be ‘Monoton’, which starts with a frantic riff that had me instantly pressing rewind to make sure I heard it properly. It’s definitely not something I expected and has an almost experimental/prog element that wouldn’t sound out of place on the first Dillinger Escape Plan album.

Closer ‘Apfelbaum’ is one of the longer songs on the album that gives you everything you’d expect from this band. Intensely technical riffs with diversity in the structure that ends the EP on a melodic high that will leave you wanting more.

What surprises me most with this EP is the quality of the recording itself. With music that is so fast and technical, it is easy for things to get buried in the mix, but the band have managed to create a visceral aural assault that is crystal clear with nothing overpowering. My only gripe with the EP is that it can sometimes feel like the riffs aren’t given enough time to breathe before the vocalist kicks in over the music however this is only a minor point that doesn’t take away from the overall strength of the EP.

This is one of the most comprehensive death/grind releases I’ve heard in a while and recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the genre. The EP is full of surprises and there is not a dull moment from start to finish. This is an independent release that is currently only available as a download from Bandcamp. At only €2.49 it’s an absolute steal so head over and get it downloaded.

For fans of: Misery Index, Napalm Death, Nails, Maruta and feeling inadequate as a musician.

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