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Vhol: Deeper Than Sky

Heavy metal as you know it – and have never heard it before

What’s been the most impressive feat over the course of Vhol’s two-album existence is how the West Coast superfriends have made headway into being deserving of the ‘progressive thrash’ tag they get saddled with.

Where the ‘progressive’ element of progressive metal has become a race to see how much Dream Theater-aping can be knocked off in 10 songs, and playing thrash is often an exercise in regression, members of Agalloch, Hammers Of Misfortune, Amber Asylum and YOB have come together as Vhol to create something unique while remaining accessible to listeners.

Whether it’s the augmentation of their quirky, strutting riffs with space-age trills and fills, Aesop Dekker’s energetic punk rock patter, Sigrid Sheie’s muscular bass or Mike Scheidt’s sky-scraping vocal range, songs like The Desolate Damned, 3AM and the title track are all adventures along a winding road where instrumental orchestration and classical smarts meet textural experiments and balls-being-crushed-by-the-wall heavy metal.