Is it weird to be proud of bands? For the most part, you usually don’t actually KNOW these people. Yet when they push themselves, I mean truly give a new dimension to what they create, you can well up with pride for them for some reason. That’s where I’m at with the new VARIALS record In Darkness (out now, Fearless Records). It’s a genuine forward expression of the brutal heavy content we’ve come to expect from them, with a few stellar surprises thrown in.
This is genuinely a cool record. It really covers a fuck ton of ground, but none of it feels rushed, forced, or thrown together. I genuinely appreciate the DEFTONES vibes from songs like “The Love Machine”, and the straight up violence of tracks like “Deathsong”. There really is something here for everyone, and I can’t really compliment them enough for it. It’s kind of hard to say if someone else’s art is “worth it” or not, because that art’s worth is not technically up to you. They wrote the songs for themselves. Yet, somehow, this album is “worth it” for sure.
I admire pure untainted aggression in songwriting. A truly visceral image is hard to paint when you’re not literally bleeding on the listener, but VARIALS managed to bring the picture to life with a very cohesive and real feeling thing. It’s almost like it moves and breathes on its own. There’s a super, sort of, subtle industrial electronic/gothic vibe that weaves itself throughout the composition, and it provides some much appreciated depth to the heavy elements. It’s like they took the music from 2-D to 3-D, so it can envelop you, rather than just pummel your ear holes.
They really knocked it out of the park here. Honestly, I can’t find a fault in the entire thing. Normally I can complain about mix quality, or maybe the delivery was kind of meh, or the use of interlude pieces to pad the track count are lame, but no. VARIALS absolutely crushed it front to back, side to fucking side. If an album has the greatest mix engineer in the world, it won’t matter at all if the songs suck. Arrangement, delivery, emotion, all in check, all the best that they could give us, all entirely worth it. Not much more to say y’all. Let this shit rip up your ears for a while.
STANDOUT TRACKS: EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM