(On February 14th of this year, Vaelmyst released their debut EP, with cover art by Travis Smith, and now we present DGR’s review of this promising first release.)
This will always be something of a private entertainment given my residence in California, but sometimes the location of a band and the music they play can prove to be equal parts interesting and amusing. When you think of Southern California, oftentimes you get the gussied-up, made-for-tourism brochures-picture of the area in your mind. The usual checkboxes: nice weather, attractive people, palm trees galore, and glorious views of miles-long beaches. What you don’t expect are the heavy metal groups that appear from time to time with a distinctly European flavoring.
While that region doesn’t have a monopoly on the sound, you’d be forgiven upon listening to Vaelmyst’s first EP, Earthly Wounds, for assuming their location is somewhere a little bit more melancholy and with a whole lot more snow, rather than the wide concrete expanse of Los Angeles.
The new band, which counts amongst its members Ronny Lee Marks, Tom Warner, Jeff Martin, Jonathan V (artist-behind-the-curtain in a variety of Fredrik Norrman projects, the recent October Tide, for instance), and session drummer Mike Ponomarev, traverse multiple spheres within the melodeath genre on Earthly Wounds, with each of its five songs drawing from different inspiration than the one before it. Earthly Wounds has a solid through-line, but the different prongs of it point in multiple directions, which gives the sense that Vaelmyst are still trying to zero in to one overall sound.