AMN Reviews: Vaults of Zin – Kadath (2016; Bandcamp)

Hailing from Denton, Texas, just outside of the Dallas / Fort Worth area, Vaults of Zin is a four piece experimental metal band with a throwback twist. The lineup consists of Rob Buttrum on drums
, Greg Dixon on guitar and electric violin
, Shane Hutchinson on bass and vocals
, and Stephen Lucas on synthesizer. Rather than a straight-forward assault, Kadath features the complex songwriting of a 70’s progressive rock band. The group rounds out this approach with heavy guitars, a prominent synth attack, and aggressive vocals. Some of the singing is in the so-called “cookie monster” style, which can be hit or miss with some listeners.  Nonetheless, two of the five tracks on Kadath are instrumental, and the vocals are not a major part of the other three.

Perhaps the band’s most apparent influence is late-70’s Magma. The fourth track, Lankotan, in particular, exhibits low-frequency angular rhythms and synth weirdness that would be at home on the latter group’s Udu Wudu release. Thematically, Vaults of Zin also is a few parts H. P. Lovecraft – their name comes from that author’s writing, as does this album’s title. Consequently, the music’s brooding structures and dark overtones should not be surprising. Further comparisons could be made to Toby Driver‘s Maudlin of the Well and Kayo Dot, as well as Japan’s Happy Family and France’s Nebelnest.

It has been five years since the first Vaults of Zin album. Despite this long layoff, there is no evidence of a sophomore slump. The entirety of this 50-minute album is a joy, and already a standout in what promises to be a crowded set of 2016 releases.

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