The members of the Bay Area’s Acephalix, whose crushing 2012 album Deathless Master I reviewed here, have their claws in a lot of grisly pies. In addition to unleashing sonic destruction in Acephalix, vocalist Dan Butler, guitarist Kyle House, and bassist Luca Indrio are also members of Vastum, another killer band we featured recently and who are now in the recording/mixing phase of their next album at Earhammer Studios in Oakland.
AND guitarist House, bassist Indrio, and Acephalix drummer Dave Benson are also the three members of a band named Lawless, with Indrio and House also sharing the vocal duties. Earlier this month the trio released their first demo under the Lawless banner. Titled Nite of the Wolf, it includes three songs and is available for download at Bandcamp (HERE) for $3, or on tape for $5.90 (limited to 200 copies) from Blood Divine.
The obvious question is how does Lawless’ music compare to that of Acephalix, given that both bands share the same guitarist, bass player and drummer, and given that both Deathless Master and Nite of the Wolf were recorded by the late Jeff Leppard Davis at SF’s Lennon Studios? Well, if you know anything about Acephalix, you would be shocked if I told you that it turns out these guys decided to form an outlet for their interest in acoustic folk music. So, I’m not telling you that.
Instead, I’ll tell you this: There are indeed similarities between the two bands’ music. As with Acephalix, Lawless have a massive, radioactive low end, ravenous death metal vocals, and sulfurous, screaming guitar solos.
But the Lawless death metal is faster-paced, with bouncing, chugging rhythms and more crust in the mix, closer to Dismember than to Grave or Autopsy in the old-school continuum. The vocals, though deep and ugly, aren’t the utterly cavernous protracted roars that Dan Butler delivers for Acephalix. They sound more like a pack of wolves coughing and barking.
Kyle House proves again that he’s a fucking riff-meister, with jagged, punchy fretwork that, when combined with the compulsive beats, make listening a physically moving experience. As in, you’ll want to move your head through a wall.
I don’t know if Nite of the Wolf is a one-off thing, but I hope it isn’t. I’d like to hear more of Lawless in the future. Time to headbang . . . and if you’re on Facebook and you dig the music, go give these guys some like. Their fairly new FB page is here.