Shadows of Cleansing Iron
(Iron Bonehead)

Mustard – more than just a condiment! Mustard gas (no relation to mustard seeds) was a deadly agent used for chemical warfare in World War I, and New Zealand-based Vesicant (mustard gas is a vesicant) use this inspiration for their WWI-themed Shadows of Cleansing Iron. With a sound that’s one heaping part war metal (think Bolt Thrower and Beherit), one part Inquisition. Vesicant’s version of blackened death is sprinkled with a good bit of ominous doom as well, and it all comes together to match the harrowing stories of one of the worst wars in human history.

The problem, however, is two-fold. First, and foremost, Shadows of Cleansing Iron sounds really awful, as in the production is muddy and gives the tremolo-d riffs a piercing volume to contrast with the murky sound. It’s rather ear-piercing, and while raw and dirty production values can do many bands favors, this poor mastering job really hampers the listening experience. The second issue is that Vesicant, while smart songwriters, are lacking in the hooks or riffs department. This is in part due to the production, but songs blend together with little to remember them by. A few of the album’s quicker moments are highlights, but aside from an aggressive and triumphant sound, Vesicant’s debut is a bit of a letdown.

Purchase the album here.

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