Five years ago I didn’t own any 7″ vinyl records. I can’t even remember reading about any 7″ vinyl records five years ago, at least in the realm of metal (though I hasten to add that the darker, deeper corners of the underground were largely unknown to me back then). My how things have changed.
Though I’d venture a guess that most 7″ records today are being released by smaller underground labels, it seems like everyone is getting into that game. What’s more, some of the best songs you’re likely to hear this year are waiting to be discovered on these small vinyl releases rather than on full-length albums (and fortunately, many of them are also being made available for download, for the record-player-challenged in the audience).
Here are three examples of superb 7″ releases from 2014 that I’ve discovered quite recently (thanks to a Facebook post by Krieg’s Neill Jameson). You’ll understand why I’ve grouped these three together after you hear them.
VEGAS is an acronym, which stands for “V.ermouth E.quilibrium G.hanoush A.sphyxia S.onata“. The band’s members are scattered around the globe, but I couldn’t tell you their names because they don’t exactly publicize them. They trace their musical inspiration to such bands as Japan’s G.I.S.M. and hardcore heavyweights Integrity. I was unfamiliar with them (because I only dabble in hardcore and crust) until hearing their new four-song 7″, Sagevisule.
This is bleak, multi-faceted, throat-gripping music — an amalgamation of riveting melodies (including acoustic ones!), massive riffs that slam with the weight of sledgehammers, bone-smashing percussion, and a combo of bearlike vocal roaring and shrieking blood spray. The pacing varies from doom-stricken stomps to crust-punk rampages, with incinerating guitar solos and head-smashing breakdowns to add extra punch. And goddamn, this thing really punches hard.