Thursday 16 May 2013

Victims Of Creation - Symmetry Of Our Plagued Existence (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 26/4/2013
Label : Cyclone Empire

Symmetry Of Our Plagued Existence, album tracklisting:
VICTIMS OF CREATION is a Maltese band, was conceived in 1992 and debuted on stage in 1994 supporting local band Oblique Visions on the launch of their debut CD.
In 1996, the song 'Lotions & Potions (Toke 1)' was included in 'The Core of Creation', a local compilation released by Storm Records. The song did not reflect the band’s style at the time, however, it was very well acclaimed specifically for its originality. The launch of this compilation was the second and last gig of the band for some time.
Turbulent times, unlucky circumstances and various set-backs saw Dino and Rex (the remaining founding members of the band) experimenting with different guitarists during sporadic jams. It seemed that VICTIMS OF CREATION would never rise from the ashes.
This was until AJ Burd, a guitarist who played with Rex and Dino in Death-metal band Lithomancy and also an interesting project called Tree, became the band’s new guitarist. Material from the Tree project together with some of the old material from VICTIMS OF CREATION was revived.
Daniel Bartolo, the man behind the one-man stoner-rock project Daredevil, as well as guitarist for a stoner/sludge/Doom project Rex and Dino have with the name of Griffin Device, was recruited as the second guitarist of the band to complete the current line-up.
2009 saw VICTIMS OF CREATION’s comeback on stage after 13 years! This was prompted by an invitation to the first edition of the Malta Doom Metal festival (MDM).

The exceptional response to VICTIMS OF CREATION’s performance injected new life into the band. A series of gigs followed and the band was also reconfirmed in both the following editions of the ever growing MDM festival which features both local and foreign ‘heavy-weight’ acts.
 It was at the MDM festival in 2011 that VICTIMS OF CREATION was approached by Cyclone Empire. The rest is history…

Rex - Bass & Vox
AJ Burd - Guitar
Daniel Bartolo - Guitar
Dino Mifsud Lepre – Drums
You find yourself standing on a barren moor, with no clue as to your previous whereabouts.  All around you, rain pours.  In a flash, the sky above you splits with forked lightning and bellows out mad thunder.  In the distance, a single repeated tone can be heard, reverberating not only around the moors but inside your head at the same time
Open your eyes.  Blink.  Press ‘pause’ on your player.  You’re fine.  Breathe a sigh of relief.  It’s only music.  Or is it?  This is Maltese doomers VICTIMS OF CREATION and their brand new album: the sprawling, apocalyptic epic that is ‘Symmetry of our Plagued Existence’.  This is five tracks of the blackest musical tales known to man, and you’ve just listened to the first notes of ‘Chapter XXIII’, the album opener.  To experience the full power of this album, I advise putting on the headphones, closing your eyes, and letting your imagination weave the music into a Technicolor vision of Armageddon. 
Once you are suitably prepared, the music once again transports you back to that desolate landscape.  The haunting, high-pitched tones urge you to move forward and, as you make your first tentative steps, the drums pitch in, matching your uncertain motion.  As you and the drums continue to move, there is a sudden, terrifying scream (courtesy of bassist/vocalist Rex), which cuts through the chill music like a gale.  Panic takes you and you begin to run, but you notice the sawing guitars and threatening vocal growls are following at your heels like a pack of hungry wolves.  You could outrun it, but the exercise would be futile: the pace is slow, but inescapable.  It is Doom, and it is coming for you. 
As the song reaches its end and you have run for what seems like an eternity, you hear not only feedback, but voices… either chanting or mocking, you can’t be sure which.  You look behind you, and the song has changed: ‘Tree of Iniquity’ has become your new predator, and the chase begins again.  The guitars bite at you with hard, uneven teeth, and the vocals growl gutturally at you.  Then the pace kicks up a notch, and you really are in a fight for survival.  A guitar solo, a disturbing new entity, comes flapping about you on leather wings before flying back into the dark sky.  Trees get smashed and uprooted by the anger of the track, peppering you with splinters and debris.  Keep running: a clearing appears and the song seems to relent, its tone lightening and becoming more melodic.  It seems you have beaten ‘Tree of Iniquity’, and its reward to you is this beautiful metal piece.  Allow yourself a small breath: there are still three more songs to go, and you’ll need all the strength you can muster. 
A bassline drones all around you in this new clearing.  Then drums.  Then guitars.  It seems you are surrounded, and the song knows this.  Track 3, ‘The Art of Despair’ strides up to you with a steady confidence, looks straight into your soul, and then batters down around you with arms of black metal.  AJ Burd and Daniel Bartolo’s guitar attacks are slow, but no less filled with venomous purpose, and it takes all your might to avoid being cut by their barbed notes.  A bass solo from Rex comes at you, a measured and precise strike that puts you onto your back.  The song roars in victory, but its happiness is short-lived as you regain your footing and continue to hold your ground.  The beat of the song is fierce and steady, the vocals again sneer and snarl at you, but you have the measure of it.  You have faced down ‘The Art of Despair’ and not been found wanting.  It emits one final roar of doom-filled anguish, before returning to the dark caves from whence it came. 
Your journey continues, and ‘The Glorious Deceit’ walks alongside you, a sombre companion that sings your uncertainties back at you: ‘Where do we go from here?’ asks Rex.  Honestly, you can’t answer: all that matters is making it out to the other side of the moor.  Hopefully, salvation will present itself when you get there.  You cross long-forgotten fields with this new song, the music calm and soothing… then something goes wrong.  It becomes suddenly angry at your persistence, and pushes and shouts at you with an almost melancholy aggression.  Solos cry out of the song’s black eyes as it falls to its knees.  ‘The Glorious Deceit’ will go no further, and you have only one song left to go before you complete your adventure. 

The final song, however, is a towering monster.  Feet of pounding drums, body of colossal bass and arms of mauling guitars, it is a beast that is over 22 minutes in length and is a frightening, beautiful monster to behold.  It opens its mouth and Rex’s howls come pouring out with bestial ferocity.  Massive hands of metal reach down to grab and squeeze you and you must dodge and weave to stay out of its unholy grasp.  The vocals cry at you ‘BLASPHEMER! BLASPHEMER!’ Keep yourself strong, and you can defeat this terrific song: its final cries growing faint as you run through the trees and find yourself in the safety of the silent new land on the other side.  As you marvel at your success, realise that only 15 minutes have passed, and not the 22 you thought the song was.  A tense 5 minutes of silence pass, before a slow, light guitar melody floats towards you on the breeze.  It is a beautiful, yet menacing piece that lets you know: you have gotten through this; but never forget, there are dark beasts out there wherever you go.  The Maltese quartet has created a compelling and crushing doom metal odyssey with ‘Symmetry of our Plagued Existence’: I hope you unleash it upon your mind as soon as you possibly can. 
Words by : Chris Markwell
As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links and buying their merch. This record is available everywhere now. Thanks as always to Jan @ Sureshotworx for the hook up.