Release date: April 29th 2016. Label: When Planets Collide. Format: CD/DD
Fuckpuncher – Tracklisting
2. Snake Falls
3. Thanagarian Snare Beast
4. The Keeper
Owen Street - Bass/Vox,
Mathew Ham - Drums
Welsh Sludge/Noise/Stoner Upstarts – V A I L S – return from almost 12 months in hibernation to release their superb new EP – Fuckpuncher. A heavy as hell sludge driven riff-fest where V A I L S harness the craziness of The Melvins and mix it with early Mastodon style carnage. Shades Of Torche style Doom/Sludge melodic riffs are just the icing on the cake that is called FUCKPUNCHER.
With this being an EP it's only on a short amount of time. 20 minutes to be precise and it's not enough as
V A I L S leave you wanting more. From the opening moments of first track – Klabautermann – V A I L S create heavy punk and heavy distorted sludge/stoner based noise. The vocals are intense throughout from Bass Guitarist/Lead Singer – Owen. Matthew on drums gives this duo extra weight in the volume department.
The EP sounds superb which isn't surprising when you consider the following talent who mastered and recorded the EP. Recorded by Joe Garcia (OM’s live engineer) and mastered by Nick Zampiello (Converge, torche, KEN Mode)
With that talent involved you know this is going to sound heavy as fuck. And it is. Swirls of Psychedelic Rock appear on second track – Snake Falls – and you're instantly drawn into a barrage of sludge/stoner distorted almost noise rock driven riffs.
V A I L S have a similar sound to another well known Sludge/Doom Metal duo mainly Sweden's – GALVANO. Well that's the vibe I pick up from third track - Thanagarian Snare Beast. This is perhaps my fave track on the EP as V A I L S create riffs that would give early-era Mastodon a run for their money.
The EP's final two tracks – The Keeper and Fuckpuncher – offer 10 minutes of crazed psychedelic noisy sludge rhythms with both songs having a more experimental feel compared to the other songs. Fuckpuncher is another standout track with V A I L S blending psychedelic rock against a heavy sludge/stoner metal backdrop. Owen's vocals could have done with more volume on this song as the riffs almost drown him out. Which is a shame as it's perhaps Owen's best vocal performance on the EP.
Other than that minor complaint, Fuckpuncher is a must have release for all you Sludge/Stoner Metal fans out there. I can't wait to hear what V A I L S will sound like on a full length record. As they need a bigger platform to expand their musical ideas and an EP is just not enough for these hugely talented riffsters. Though until then, do yourself a favour and hunt-down FUCKPUNCHER. It's a superb release.
Excellent and Highly Recommended.
Words by Steve Howe
Thanks to Gareth at When Planets Collide for the promo. Fuckpuncher will be available to buy on CD/DD from When Planets Collide on 29th April 2016.