Album Review: VITRIOL Suffer & Become

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I was first properly introduced to Vitriol back in 2019 on their tour with Cattle Decapitation and Atheist. While the band differs a great deal from the prog-inspired classic death metal of Atheist (though former Atheist guitarist Daniel Martinez is now a part of Vitriol), there are many similarities between Vitriol and Cattle Decapitation. They both have the intensity turned up to 11; seemingly all the time, and they both thrive on a top of controlled chaos that seems to drive their songs. This controlled chaos is really a signature aspect of their second record with Century Media, Suffer & Become.

Suffer & Become, is perhaps titled as such because of the arduous process involved in the making of the record. Guitarist and vocalist Kyle Rasmussen tells us, “I pushed things to a point while making this album where it almost became untenable. Things that were supposed to be done in weeks took months. It wasn’t easy, but I think it was suffering well spent.” The result, my sore eardrums will attest to, is an absolute relentless assault that will pound away at you until you literally can’t take anymore. However, there’s nuance to the music as well, with many peaks and valleys and a real play on emotion. In this respect, yes, it is so much about creating a sonic envelope of pure brutality for the listener (extremely apparent on tracks like “Weaponized Loss”) but one which also integrates significant contemplation.

Band newcomer Matt Kilner (Nithing, Iniquitous Deeds) goes absolutely bananas on the drums here. It’s hard to believe that a human being can actually play so fast. We’re talking breakneck speed here, but it’s important to note that it’s not just about speed, as Kilner adds so many textures and layers of percussive elements that elevates the overall composition. You can really discern Matt‘s brilliance on “The Flowers of Sadism,” which, by the way, also features a disturbing and creepy video you will unlikely forget.

The guitar tone that Vitriol brings to the record is just beyond ridiculous. Such a unique sound. So much of Kyle‘s originality shines through in every track, but this is particularly apparent in “Shame And Its Afterbirth.” You can actually get really up close and personal with Kyle‘s exceptional soloing abilities about five minutes in to the track, which is featured prominently in this play through video (I love the soloing ALMOST as much as his facial expressions here):

In this particular video you’ll also notice bassist Aaron Roethlisberger channeling some tech death style bass in this brilliant composition. Aaron reminds me a lot of Mike Flores (Origin), who might be one of the greatest death metal bassists you’ll ever see.

This is Vitriol‘s best record to date. If you’ve been reading the social media scuttlebutt, the expectations for the record have been extremely given the blistering singles that have been released thus far. Let me explicitly exclaim that this record lives up those aforementioned expectations without any doubt. With this record, Vitriol is poised to really “level up” in the world of extreme metal and find themselves in the same breath as some of more important bands in the genre. Personally, I really can’t sit still as I await their upcoming shows this Spring, amazingly, again supporting Cattle Decapitation. I am very much looking forward to having my mind (and ears) blown as I experience their new material in person.

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