Genre: Brutal death metal
Format: Digital, CD (sold out)
Label: New Standard Elite
Release date: June 10, 2022
Having listened to "Invocation", I'm convinced beyond doubt brutality is spelled V-U-L-N-I-F-I-C-U-S. Their debut EP "Innomination" caught my attention by accident last year and I thought they would take Indiana by storm and quickly wreak havoc across the country and far beyond. There is simply no subtlety or pleasantries in this pure, slamming, grinding, blasting, growling death metal. The impact the first death metal bands had is straightforwardly rekindled, evincing the band’s extensive experience as musicians.
Wilson Sherels is an Indiana based multi-instrumentalist who has done several solo projects including Epidermolysis, Rancorous, Urotherapy, Darkened Spawn, Pile Tub, Daraku Shita Kanjo, The Outer Tormentor and Endogenous Disconsolation. Eston Browne is a Pennsylvania based vocalist who has lent his abilities to Abolishing the Ignominious, Merciless Mutilation, Animals Killing People, Humanity Falls, Salö, Gigan and Kresil. Vulnificus is their first collaboration as a working unit and pooling their resources at Demolition Studios gives them a solid enough start as their respective talents seem to merge by character well.
“Invocation” is strictly for Mortician, Suffocation, Immolation, Blasphemy, Impetigo, Mystifier, Chainsaw Dissection and Deeds of Flesh enthusiasts in death metal fandom. Anyone else will most likely run screaming from the sheer bloodthirsty brutishness of this sophomore effort. Ultimately, this EP reminded me why I gravitated toward brutal death metal. A long story short, “Invocation” basically crushes. In spite of some minor flaws, the band deserves much admiration for their love of the genre.
A minor criticism concerns the guitars, which sound too distorted alongside the bass, drums, and vocals. Particularly because of the technical license they direct into their songwriting. Depending on how it’s mixed during production, the effect they appeared to be seeking may pass or fail. In the case of Napalm Death’s “Scum” it worked beautifully; it didn't work quite as well in the case of Sodom's "Obsessed by Cruelty" (although the production was deliberately sabotaged, but that’s another story).
It's not that I don’t find the guitar progressions awe-inspiring. It’s just that they could have served their purpose much more effectively with a cleaner sound. Wilson Sherels is an accomplished guitarist and bassist, and his drumming is first-rate when it comes to speed and accuracy. In the final product, his riffs should have been given more clarity so they didn't come across as blurry. As the bass lines tend to get buried under other instruments, they also could have been given a little more emphasis.
In my opinion, Eston Browne's vocals are some of the lowest pitched and brutish I've heard in death metal in a long time. So perfectly do they fit that they make Johan Bergström (Deranged) and Sherwood Webber (Skinless) sound tame. In archetypical death metal fashion he conveys a message of how low human hubris and self-righteousness drag the rest of us down as things stand. He exposes greed, intolerance, and inhumanity in his writing, showing how much worse humanity's ills have become over time.
It is evident that Vulnificus has the potential to become a dominant force in the world of death metal in the near future. As long as they tighten up their musical rapport, consolidate their studio skills, and improve their production, they are bound to make headlines. –Dave Wolff
Eston Browne: Vocals, lyrics
Wilson Sherels: All instruments
1. The Viral Virus
2. Coerced Into Compliance
3. Instruments of Indiscrimination
4. Instigated Indignation
5. The Incredulous Invocation