Real talk: I ran into Chris Bruni, the dude who runs Profound Lore Records, at Martyrdoom Festival this past June. As the bone-splintering UK death metal band Cruciamentum was playing 40 feet away from us, he was barking into my ear about some of the new albums his label was preparing for fall release — among them, Vessels Of Light And Decay, the six-years-in-the-making sophomore LP from London death-doom band Indesinence (who coincidentally share a drummer with Cruciamentum). He seemed especially stoked on that one. A month or so later, he sent me an advance of the album, which I listened to once, liked well enough, and put aside for a later day.
Last week, standing on an overcrowded Midtown subway platform and in need of music that would act as a psychic repellant to my fellow commuters, I dialed up Vessels on my iPod. I wanted something raw and muscular and punishing, something to push away the world around me. This time, Vessels grabbed me from the outset and sunk its teeth deep. I found myself immediately and increasingly invested in the considerable drama of the music, swept up in its terrific power. Every new progression was like the tightened hold of a terrible undertow, dragging me further into its cold and infinite ocean. I was soon lost at sea.
Like most death-doom, Vessels moves at a deliberate pace (though not at the evolutionary gait of its sibling, funeral doom), so that every downtuned chord is invested with portent. Unlike most death-doom, however, Vessels actually delivers a return on that investment. It’s surprising, fresh, and striking, offering nuance, melody, and precision beyond the echo and clang. Over the last few years, some of the genre’s best representatives (Asphyx, Triptykon, Autopsy, et al.) have released universally acclaimed albums. I’d put Vessels next to any of those releases — I think it would stand tall among them, perhaps taller than some.
The anecdote above is offered by way of sheepish explanation: If I’d paid closer attention when this thing first landed in my mailbox, I’d likely have pressed Bruni to share it on Stereogum a long time ago. But perhaps the timing is fortuitous. Vessels is an album for the cold seasons, the enveloping darkness. It’s in stores tomorrow, but we’re streaming it today. Listen.
Vessels Of Light And Decay is out 10/16 via Profound Lore.