Southern California’s Vamachara has been hitting the heavy since 2013, following their birth with their gritty four-song demo the following year. This year they began unveiling their next offering and Melotov Records debut, the crushing extended-play Lapse. Comprised of four songs clocking in at a timely fifteen minutes, Vamachara’s sophomore offering prunes the best from 90s hardcore and metalcore such as Arkangel, Disembodied and All Out War and blends them with modern hardcore sensibilities comparable to contemporaries Code Orange, Eternal Sleep and Foundation.
Lifting their name from the Sanskrit term for “Left-Hand Path,” Vamachara take their sound into appropriately dark places on Lapse. The title track opens with deep, chest rattling chugs before breaking into a breathless gallop that tears through its length before coming to a screeching halt via the sinister guitar tone summoning a hammerfall of a breakdown to close the track. Reeking of existential woe, the title track segues thematically into Victim of Life, which announces its presence via screeching guitars not unlike Martyr A.D., before bringing into play their showmanship for playful yet brutal hardcore meant for a live setting. Snarling into the microphone as if it were an enemy’s skull, the vocals tussle with the instrumentation over the track’s drawn-and-quartered breakdown.
Breeding Disease bisects the EP with its neck-snapping heaviness, an instant headbang inducer that is equally meant for punching people bare-knuckle in the face. The approachability of Vamachara’s music for all fans of heavy music, whether that fan’s taste be metal or hardcore-centric, is a unifying quality on a songwriting level that this quintet gets rights that others do not. This is some of the truest metallic hardcore to grace us since Integrity’s To Die For thirteen years ago. Undercut by the serpentine bass lines, final track I, Divine is additionally lifted above the preceding tracks by its tom-focused fills, which stab like holes in drowning lungs. Originally found on their 2014 Demo, I, Divine is a punishing exercise in crafting that signature track, which of course, this is the best candidate Vamachara has yet offered. It’d win my vote for best track on Lapse.
For those seeking a band that can pull off the same tried and true tricks from bands of yore while also applying the energetic and existential pressure that has permeated modern hardcore, Vamchara’s Lapse is indeed what you’ve been looking for.
Bruce Hardt hails from Tucson, Arizona. He's an irate nerd and bleeding heart leftist, worshipper of the war goddess Sigourney Weaver and Taco Bell connoisseur. He's also written countless words on punk and hardcore for the likes of CVLT Nation, Invisible Oranges and WRKNG OVRTME zine.