Vessel marks Abriosis’ third release, following up their 2011 full-length Tattered And Bound and self-titled EP (2008). Founded by guitarist Taylor Lipton in 2007, Abriosis’ previous incarnations saw Chris Mathis handle vocal duties, followed by Kris McDermott. The theme of new vocalists continues on Vessel with Alxs Ness now the voice of Abriosis, but this time around, there’s a sense that the position has now been permanently filled. Live, Ness is clearly more than comfortable with the band’s whole catalogue, and this new batch of tunes sears her personal stamp onto the Abriosis sound.
There is no easing in with Vessel. “Crypsis” blasts the EP open with palmed, pounding rhythm, breaks slightly to remind you to breathe, and winds its way through frenetic passages of blasting percussion, and proggy guitar.
The opening, doom-heralding gongs of “Vessel” quickly give way to a sharp, halting riff. The title track contains the wickedest riff on the album, which rears its beastly head at the two-minute mark; however simple it may be, the melody here really ties this tune together and gives it a nice, hard concrete floor. The vicious outro to this track is sure to cause some injuries in the pit.
“Peering Into Oblivion” starts off like being splashed awake with a bucket of muddy ice water, mid-battle, on a foreign planet under siege. Ness screeches “I’m losing myself in it all” as the unpredictable tune spirals into a trance-inducing dissonance amid a myriad of crashing, chiming cymbals. Ryan McDonnell’s audacious, inventive bass-playing throughout is worth noting. The stress induced by the slasher-movie-stabbing-sound of the guitar provides an additional shade of aural unease. The aptly titled track is the clear standout on the EP, as it ventures into weird, far-out territory yet remains tight and economical.
The last tune on Vessel, “Apochra”, starts off as the first did, in full-out frenzy, but sustained, and to a greater degree. If “Peering Into Oblivion” is the brooding, quiet genius of the family, “Apochra” is the violently schizophrenic sibling that refuses to take its meds. The song ends not with a ringing fadeout or gentle exit (and really, how could it, after all this craziness?); instead, it gets caught up in its ownteeth-gnashing tantrum, slams itself into a wall and promptly blacks out.
The lead guitar throughout the EP, when it’s allowed to shine, shares the same characteristics of movement as a drunken hummingbird whose feeder’s been spiked with adrenaline. The production of Vessel is also worth mentioning. Robin Iwasiw’s sniper-precise drumming comes out crystal clear and balances out the fuzzy, low-heavy guitars. Considering the extreme nature of this style of metal, the vocals are surprisingly intelligible, though not overly imposing, holding their own equal place in the mix.
“Vessel is what we have been working towards for years,” says guitarist Lipton. “It’s disorienting while holding down groove. Every song has its own face and personality.” I wouldn’t be able to come up with a more accurate description.
As a whole, Vessel is a tight, dense collection of unconventional song structures, unpredictable riffs, and expertly delivered extreme metal. There is no fat here – only lean muscle, black blood, and rock-hard bone.
Rumour is Abriosis may be playing some local shows this March and/or April. Keep an eye out. In the meantime, you can download Vessel for free right here.