Vital Spirit - In the Faith that Looks Through Death
Self released
Black Metal w/Spaghetti Western overtones
4 songs (16'38")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

When I started listening to the US black metal duo Vital Spirit for the first time I didn’t even bother to check out their cover art. I should have, to be less surprised by what I would hear.

The first track Heart of Sky rips right out of the gate with all of its tremolos and energy, its urgent dark progression, and long ways from some DIY bedroom black metal in terms of production, but the track is something rather familiar, good but known stuff you can hear on other up and coming US acts like Uada or Vanum. Quality melodic and slightly atmospheric black metal, but not super special. So there I was enjoying more cosmic and soaring Centaur when distorted notes led me to … pause … distinct Ennio Morricone Spaghetti Western melody. First, I could swear that the melody of Centaur has reference to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and, second, I never knew that black metal and Ennio Morricone can coexist so organically.

Now, had I looked at the aforementioned cover art, maybe I would be less surprised as Native American art is probably used for the album to capture the spirit. How and why Vital Spirit came up with an idea to blend the two genres will remain a mystery, but the stuff just works. The duo manages to subtly pipe in Spaghetti Western melody into Face of the Sun, which is otherwise mostly cavernous and desperate. Face of the Sun spills out into the desert eventually and ends with a sound a rattlesnake would make. Ghost Dance is more buoyant and has more human less abstract touch than Face of the Sun, but surprises are still lurking. Underneath the steady beat the unmistakable Morricone melody emerges again and rides off into the sunset.

Given that In the Faith that Looks Through Death is significantly more violent and heavy than can be depicted on a Spaghetti Western I think the EP can be a soundtrack to a mystery thriller, like, say, Thunderhead by Preston and Child, where the action takes place in Utah’s remote canyon country. Next time I am flying to California looking over desolate red-colored Kaiparowits plateau I should be listening to Vital Spirit.

Killing Songs :
Centaur, Ghost Dance
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