This is the debut album from UK death metallers Vacuous.
Dreams of Dysphoria presents us with 34 minutes of hideous old-school death metal. At least, that’s the simplistic summary. The harsh and terrifying reality is that Vacuous offer something a little different, a little darker than that of your average old-school death metal act.
Through raging violence and malefic fury do Vacuous craft horrific soundscapes of nightmare darkness. Cavernous doom vistas assault your mind as the band’s ugly death metal collapses on you like a tsunami of anguish and woe. Despite a relatively standard underpinning foundation, (think a mix of Bolt Thrower, Autopsy, and Incantation, roughly), Vacuous build on this with otherworldly skill a grim ambiance that’s unsettling and surprisingly affecting.
Yes, unusually for a death metal record the real strength of Dreams of Dysphoria lies in its emotive qualities. Death metal this may be, but it is atypical in this regard; as well as tearing you a new hole in your face, Vacuous make you really feel the horror of it all. The music is an atmospheric powerhouse, driven by emotive melodies and mood-rich songwriting. It really gets under your skin and infects with its potency.
Vacuous know how to write riffs and guitar structures that arrest with their immediacy, yet hold you fast with their power. There is an emotional and atmospheric aspect to the music that I’d associate with black metal more than death metal; I mean this more to do with their impact than their sound, as Vacuous are, (mostly), death metal through and through.
What an unexpected delight. Dreams of Dysphoria offers far more for the discerning death metal fan than most other bands tagged with the old-school label. Vacuous deliver atmospheric, mood-rich death metal that focuses on eerie malevolence, yet can still flay skin.
Don’t miss out on this. Very highly recommended.