Vile Creature embrace resistance and power amid despair on Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm!on July 22, 2020 at 5:00 pm

The new third full-length from Canadian doom duo Vile Creature, Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm!, is everything I hoped it would be. The queer vegan band, formed in 2014, draw their fierce, efficient, and elegant rage from their experiences of oppression and resistance, and they use it to build strong support structures for their bursts and blasts of raw power. The tolling, far-off twangs of guitarist and vocalist KW on the elegiac intro to “When the Path Is Unclear” set the stage for an impassioned monologue that begins as the song opens up into raw, churning fury: “You’d do well to take heed of the subtlety of the winding stream, the spider of subversion.” Canadian all-woman choir Minuscule, founded by ukulele player Laurel Minnes, lend their dulcet tones to “Glory! Glory!,” an almost divinely ethereal ode to the all-consuming power of nature that conveys the comforting sense that after death your essence as well as your decaying body will be reabsorbed by the environment. Never let it be said that Vile Creature don’t provide moments of hope amid their all-too-accurate portraits of despair and fury: the apathy in the album title is not political indifference but rather the acceptance of death when the struggle is done, and the angelic choir on closing track “Apathy Took Helm!” sounds like a raging against the dying of the light. Drummer and vocalist Vic pummels the hell out of this record, as if they’re trying to dig up an unquiet grave. And as though this magnificent album weren’t enough, Vile Creature have also just released a collaborative single with Tanya Byrne of UK doom duo Bismuth (who added keyboards to “Glory, Glory!”). The primal, ritualistic drone banger “In Tenebris Lux” benefits Black Lives Matter-adjacent groups and UK environmental project Forest Carbon. Vile Creature met Byrne last year at the Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands, and the two bands later worked together on music commissioned by the 2020 edition of the fest, before the whole event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vic and KW contributed their vocals to “In Tenebris Lux” via digital methods, which might not be their favorite way of collaborating–but adaptability and acceptance of the current moment can lead to innovative, satisfying work. v

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