Soul Attrition brings their own addition to the feast of doom and post-metal records this year with Vashon Rain, a raw and nostalgic ride through the 90s.
For me, doom always evoked the ominous sound of a world ending prophecy. Harrowing melodies, thick bass and chanting vocals never failed to conjure a shivering atmosphere for me. With this being such a strong and rich year for this genre, I can only wonder what this will mean for next year. Soul Attrition will bring their own addition to this feast with Vashon Rain.
Vashon Rain starts off with a track called “Sinking”. For an opener, it’s as straight forward as it gets. Huge, droning guitars, slow backbeat drum and lethargic sounding vocals introduce every essence of this project right away. “Sinking” gets its point across through the seemingly unending space for low frequencies with a warm and enveloping feel. Some might hear a light Deftones influence in the cadence and timbre of the vocals, though the overall performance of said vocals falls flat to me on this record. Around the middle of the album, we go into a breakdown that is straight out of Stephen Carpenter’s hand book for writing music. There’s short solo to sweeten the track and fit some high notes in here, and, after the breakdown repeats, we are through.
If I’m frank here, the album doesn’t start off great. The progression’s melody and composition feel very derivative of Deftones‘ work. While it’s not bad to have your influences and idols, if it feels this dry and inauthentic, the music becomes disingenuous. It also doesn’t help the record that, like we’ve mentioned in a thousand reviews by now, this year is an exceptionally good one for doom and post-metal.
Going on to the next song we have “Thirteen”. Now, with this song, we get a closer look at the artist and his creative outlet. In my opinion, every song is an onomatopoeia that shows us the thought process, vocabulary, influences and articulation the artist possesses. “Thirteen” shows that this vocabulary mainly consists of 90s grunge, doom and nu-metal tropes; he articulates this combination the best on this track but the process behind this concept doesn’t seem to work. The vocals phase in and out of badly produced and mixed effects that could be very charming if improved. Furthermore, the song’s progressions seem to lead in very predictable directions, as does much of the rest of the album, lacking the flair of adventure and instead catering to low expectations.
So in the end, Vashon Rain sadly failed to grip me completely and, while I don’t think it’s a bad record, it is certainly one that fails to save it itself from mediocrity. If Soul Attrition works out some of the issues mentioned and works hard, I believe that the project has the chance to bloom and pull us in with an interesting project in the future. Until then, I can’t recommend this record in good heart.