Solid ground is overrated.
For my money, it’s far more interesting to be walking jagged terrain, being forced to focus or else lose your footing.
That’s the premise practiced by Korean metalcore band Vassline on their latest single “Red Raven Conspiracy.” Released on March 10, “Red Raven Conspiracy” achieves a near-constant state of musical seismic activity, shaking up the listener with frequent shifts and starts.
The latest Vassline single comes from the group’s “Conspiracy” EP, also released last month.
In their nearly 20 years as a band, Vassline have established themselves as one of Seoul’s most well-respected purveyors of the heavy stuff.
In 2005, they won the Korean Music Award with their second full-length album, “Blood of Immortality.” Even though there’s plenty here to nod one’s head to, Vassline keeps things in constant flux throughout “Red Raven Conspiracy.” Contributing to the variation is the inclusion of guest vocalist F.
Grinder, member of fellow Korean metalheads To My Last Breath.
Grinder’s guttural moans juxtaposed with the screams of Vassline vocalist Shin Woo Seok creates a sort of textural counterpoint, especially effective when delivered in unison.
However, it’s the instrumental aspects that keep the listener off-balance.
Vassline exist in an unparalleled period of eclecticism within the heavy music community, a modern day landscape following the innovations of bands such as Refused or Cephalic Carnage, who brought together myriad extremes in altogether new ways.
The dubstep-style digital effects and intense production transitions are therefore nothing new, but Vassline execute them with expert ease.
While the music is unpredictable from moment to moment, the sections themselves are solid as steel.
“Red Raven Conspiracy” is never short on melodic lines, doled out on guitar preceding the verses, and offered in anthemic vocals during the chorus.
The riffs are plentiful, and they are good.
While a less experienced group would come off as structurally clueless, Vassline know how to take a number of non-repeating parts and weave them together in such a way that the piece has a solid form.
The drumming is a large source of the song’s variety.
Drummer Choi Hyeon Jin delivers pounding mid-tempo beats only to flip them upside-down, and is equally comfortable introducing half-time mosh parts as well as bracing blast beats.
In their frenzy to move from one aggressive extreme to another, Vassline here call to mind the Boston-based hardcore legends Converge.
And while “Red Raven Conspiracy” is a few notches further towards the cleaner side of the production continuum, they are clearly investigating the same restless, eclectic terrain.
Vassline is clearly a band that has always been interested in charting their own course.
As the footage in this masterfully captured live version of “Red Raven Conspiracy” clearly shows, Vassline’s audiences have no problem following the band through an all-out sonic assault.
Check out the video for Vassline’s “Red Raven Conspiracy” RIGHT HERE Jeff Tobias is a composer, musician and writer currently living in Brooklyn, New York.
As of late, he has been writing music for his new reggae band, Big Axe.