Seattle’s Vile Display of Humanity have crafted a deceptively morose record with their self-titled full length, burying a discordant sense of melancholy beneath layers of thrash, hardcore, and vicious punk rock. The gloom that permeates the record comes on subtly, as if gradually leaked into the savage solution that is their hot nerve shredded sound. But eventually the mournful nuances bond to the acidic hardcore and the effect is that of poison on the tip of a blade.
“Minimum Wage” opens up the record like an old wound, a shouting hoarse from rage blowing the humid heat of venomous lips into the face of a cold, looming conspiracy powered by greed and arrogance. Vile Display of Humanity’s punk is dirty and raw, the minimal production allowing their furious spirit to bleed through undiluted. The thrash metal tendencies are terrifyingly precise but shred through the damaged atmosphere like dampened red gauze.
The pathos that haunts the record becomes slighty more pronounced by “Shades of Grey” where broken vocals shatter against metallic shreds of guitar and doomy bass that may seem innocuous. Rather it’s casually lethal and primarily responsible for an increasingly hopeless feeling wrapped in a trembling mass of fury. The jittering, jolting hysteria like the aftermath of an adrenaline overdose courses through “Bleeding Out” relentlessly battering drums made more brilliant through rough production.
A rusted metallic spider of a guitar solo marks “One More Song” before its torn to wires by a tumultuous sea of fists and limbs violently surging to the beat. The sense of hopeless ruin returns in force on the foreboding “When You See the Light”, almost like a punk rock spaghetti western soundtrack in its pensive, provocative darkness and oddly lamenting tone. “Pipe Bomb” finds serrated beats grating against razor sharp scissoring guitar, falling into the strangest tragic grind that collapses before a column of malicious cackling.
The last true deluge of hardcore punk hammers out of “walking Dead” where an agile, nimble lead guitar is weighted by a cheerless, almost bereaved bass line. Yet the album packs a sucker punch in the closing track “Sunday Morning”, a rough, splintery acoustic number. Yet, even when stripped to their rustic roots, Vile Display of Humanity don’t evince vulnerability but rather another level of rawness.
In true punk fashion, the full length offers up 20 tracks at white knuckle speed, but Vile Display of Humanity nearly breaks the trend by serving up a fair number of moodier moments that break the 3 minute mark. They’ve left us with a surprisingly emotional punk record without compromising the vitriol their message demands.