The Vomit Arsonist – An Occasion For Death CD Malignant Records 2013
If not counting the numerous cassettes and CDr’s issued by The Vomit Arsonist since 2004, ‘An Occasion For Death’ represents the third official album and the first issued by the leading underground label Malignant Records (which is certainly a welcomed pairing). As the last album ‘Go Without’ was well received around here it also goes without saying that this new album was awaited with anticipation. Yet for those still not familiar with The Vomit Arsonist, this is the solo project of American artist Andrew Grant who typically excels at the blurring of death industrial and power electronics sounds. However from cursory listens to ‘An Occasion For Death’, it is immediately evident that this time around Andrew has focused less on a brutal power electronics edge and opted for a slightly more brooding death industrial tone. Thus being more harrowing than brutally heavy, this album is both bleak and nihilistic to its core.
The album opens with ‘Think God Out Of Existence’ which has the feel of an extended introductory piece, being a desolately ominous death industrial soundscape of ebbing and flowing layered synth drones, which also contains a lengthy dialogue sample of atheism taken to a logical and heretical extreme. Yet it is the second track ‘At The Edge of Life, Everything Is An Occasion for Death’ where there album really steps up a notch, with slow looped bass pounding beat, sustained melancholic piano notes/ synth lines, a dose of unobtrusive static undercutting the composition and the distinctive distortion wracked vocals. In simpler terms this is The Vomit Arsonist’s own sound done to absolute perfection. ‘Black Bile’ represents another stand out composition, structured with an almost militant tinged mid paced percussive thump, grinding static, bleakly ominous synth lines, and the trademark distortion eviscerated vocals. Alternately ‘Torn Between Will and Desire’ opts for a more forceful sound with a heavy combination of grinding static loops and mechanised idling factory noise, where the emotion wracked vocals again take a central focus (being distorted to the point of indecipherability). For the final of the seven album tracks, ‘Means To An End’ mixes cavernous warehouse type ambience and rising synth drones to ratchet up the tension, before the introduction of a French dialogue sample and one final segment of grinding static and furnace blasted vocals.
Although less blunt force than earlier albums, here the reduced brutality has been replaced with an atmosphere of harrow bleakness elevated to central prominence. While only 43 minutes this is not an overly lengthy album, yet ‘An Occasion For Death’ pack a heavy emotional punch within the available run time and in the process sees the The Vomit Arsonist really coming into his own.