Wednesday 1 April 2015

V A I L S - Galactic Triceratops (EP Review)

Galactic Triceratops cover art

Album Type: EP
Date Released: March 19th 2015
Label: When Planets Collide

Galactic Triceratops - Track Listing

1. Sally's In Love
2. Megaton's Telethon
2. Galactic Triceratops
4. Heterodyne
5. Don't Poke The Bear


Owen Street - Bass/Vox,
Mathew Ham - Drums


Dumping any preconceived notion of what a contemporary two-piece should sound like firmly on its over-coiffured nut, South Wales’ V A I L S deal in a strain of uber-aggro melodic sludge, notable for both its punk aesthetic and consummate musicianship. Operating in the Venn diagram set where early Killing Joke intersects with The Melvins and Torche, ‘a one-two beast of balls-heavy animosity’ was the received wisdom of Sludgelord, and it’s hard to disagree.

Bassist Owen Street and drummer Mathew Ham turned a few eyes and ears on last year’s demo, seamlessly locking in like distant twins on the propulsive Fuckpuncher and riff-strong Snake Falls Show All. Now, with a few incandescent live shows under the belt, they launch their first EP proper – Galactic Triceratops on When Planets Collide on 30th March. Recorded by Joe Garcia (OM, Temples Festival) and mastered by Nick Zampiello (Converge, Isis), the band has channeled their sound, their groove and their drive into a quite remarkable proposition.


V A I L S are a Punk/Noise/Sludge/Stoner Duo have just released their superb debut EP - Galactic Triceratops - which is released by When Planets Collide. For a duo V A I L S are extremely loud. If you're a fan of Big Business, Torche and High On Fire then these guys are the band for you though V A I L S offer a more direct punk based attitude.

Opening track - Sally's In Love - is a fast-paced offering with the band playing noisy and in your face style Punk based Sludge/Stoner Rock to hold your interest. The song could be classed as a romantic love song though only if your partner is a fan of Noise Rock with a dash of Sludge/Stoner Metal to get them fully into the romantic mood. The vocals remind me of Big Business though that's no bad thing as they do the job superbly well.

Second track - Megatron's Telethon is a brilliantly clever and exciting track that shows how creative V A I L S actually are. As the band offer fast-paced and high energy volatile Stoner Rock carnage with enough power to give Optimus Prime an intergalactic headache never mind inspiring Megatron into starting a telethon. As you can tell, V A I L S have a passion for all things Science Fiction as they explore some crazy and wild ideas that gives their debut EP a very addictive quality. The EP is a very bass heavy affair as there isn’t a lead or rhythm guitar I sight. As V A I L S band members only play Bass Guitar and Drums respectively.

Third track - Galactic Triceratops – is a more direct Sludge/Punk Rock song that maybe too jarring for some to experience. The rest of us will enjoy the hard-riffing delights that V A I L S have created here. If Big Business ever did the soundtrack for a Transformers movie then this is the twisted result. Fourth track - Heterodyne - is perhaps the loudest song on the EP. It's a very messy and noisy affair and I mean that as a compliment. As the band mix ambient noises with bass heavy riffs that shouldn't really work but the band pull this off with style and ease.

The final song and possibly the EP's standout track - Don't Poke The Bear – is another heavy rock and roll affair that sees V A I L S throw everything in the air for one crazy ride. It can become very trippy at times as it has moments of dark twisted Psych Rock vibes. The drumming is superb through out as it becomes the main focus of the song. V A I L S offer a drone/ambient experience for the last 90 seconds or so. It brings the EP to a rousing and exciting finish. 

V A I L S have managed to create an excellent debut release and one that will see them go far within the UK Sludge/Stoner Rock scene. V A I L S are one of the more exciting duos I've came across recently. Hopefully V A I L S can build upon this EP and offer a full length record to match the crazy and superb ideas that Galactic Triceratops holds. 

Do yourself a favour and check this out now. You owe it to yourself. It's available to buy now on BandCamp Buy Now and CD via When Planets Collide.

Words by Steve Howe

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