“Vela is a blast of blackened chaos from distant galaxies, mastered by death metal legend Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Bloodbath). Imagine early Bathory mixed with Darkthrone’s grim eclecticism and Black Breath‘s punk grime. Mutate that sound with Lovecraftian psychedelia and you get this unforgettable album.”
That’s the PR come-on from Wise Blood Records for the debut album by Blasted Heath from Indianapolis. I thought, if that’s even pretty close to accurate I’m going to be very happy with this one. The preview checks a lot of the right boxes for my tastes. Another one got checked when I read guitarist/vocalist Kyle Shumaker‘s comments about the last three conceptually linked songs on Vela, which are about neutron stars (aka pulsars) and “Killanova” events in which two such stars in a binary system collide and potentially release “strange matter”.
And then there’s the fact that the band named the album itself for a pulsar that’s the remnant of a supernova that occurred 11,000–12,300 years ago, and the brightest pulsar (at radio frequencies) in the sky.
So, lots of reasons to be intrigued and attracted before hearing a single note. But, as always, it comes down to the payoff: Do these black/thrash cosmonauts deliver what’s promised? You’re about to find out.