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Villainy: Dim

Genre-hopping hate from Europe’s infernal flatlands

As mainstream metal steadily eats itself, the need for bands who ignore boundaries and conventions is more pressing than ever.

Villainy may not be reinventing any wheels here, with a sound that is split roughly between black metal, crusty doom and avant-garde hardcore punk, but they plough a relatively familiar furrow with the spark and vehemence of mad-eyed zealots. Imbuing extreme metal with a believable sense of disquiet is a tricky business, but within the lurching, muscular squall of songs like Nebulous Chasm and Jewel, Villainy’s intuitive grasp of how to make skin crawl is impressive.

Perhaps at the most effective when tempos drop to a lascivious, moonlit slither, as on the oppressive Valley, this Dutch trio frequently and convincingly drift into post-metal territory, albeit without ever shaking off their volatile street metal menace.

The production is modern and powerful but never needlessly polished, and the delivery is strident. When they succumb to the lure of warped thrash on The Soul Is Untouched, Villainy’s hateful momentum is irresistible.