The Savannah, Georgia-based Vatican play utterly brutal metalcore on their stunning new album Sole Impulse, available now via 1126 Records. Their music feels devastating, like it’s just about the heaviest metalcore imaginable. They blend consistent, fast breakdowns carrying the power of blunt-force trauma with a steadily vicious, hardcore attack. The music’s sheer weight and unhinged energy helps ensure that it sticks.
Vatican feel so intense that there’s not really a chance to get too concerned with genre when diving into Sole Impulse, although they definitely do wheel out plenty of breakdowns. Still, the group ties those breakdowns into their broader framework of in-your-face sonic devastation, and it’s perfectly ghastly. More than just a collection of breakdowns or heavy, hardcore riff attacks, Vatican feel like they’ve captured an immediately personal-feeling experience of utter desperation. They don’t just stick to the physical side of what they’re doing; the dynamics ensure that their music’s wake includes psychological upheaval as well.
Mostly, Vatican do stick to their core framework of performing various incarnations of brutally heavy riffs fashioned to have maximum sonic impact thanks to the unsettling musical atmosphere in which they’re suspended. Those riffs feel like the sonic equivalent of a series of buzzsaws, and the vocal work proves equally vicious for essentially the entirety of Sole Impulse’s runtime.
Vatican do include elements like a brief rap cadence in the vocals like Stray from the Path and beatdowns heavy enough to fit in some of the most disorienting sludge metal bands imaginable, but they never spend too much time away from their core vision. The transitions that they do include are always smooth-feeling thanks to the sheer force of their energy, which fashions their unique vision of a bombastic metalcore mixing with suffocating hardcore.
That energy helps ensure that the music feels super-fresh no matter how many other bands have written breakdowns before. Overall, Vatican’s apparent confidence drives this music. They’re thrillingly ruthless, and they truly sound like they’re holding not a single ounce of energy back, and the best part is, all of this monstrous energy is readily available for the listener.