Siberia may not be thought of as fertile ground for metal but the vast Russian region is birthing some genuinely interesting metal of late and that’s just from the nooks and crannies we’re aware of right now. The first of these that must be mentioned is funeral doom band Station Dysthymia, whose miasmic dirges manifested themselves fully on last year’s Overhead, Without Any Fuss, the Stars Were Going Out with crushing glacial riffs and chilling atmosphere, so maybe there is something at play out there in Siberia. Enter: Relic Point.
Relic Point are a band coming out of Tomsk, one of Siberia’s oldest towns. Broadly speaking their sound is one of sludge and doom and prior to the release of this debut album online, the band had just one release to their name in a meagre three-track demo. It was a release that pretty much lived up to its name – a demonstration. The tracks didn’t excite too much in the listener, relying on weary and tiresome sludge riffs that we’ve heard before. The band was obviously pleased with the songs to an extent though as the tracks have been re-recorded for this album, which frankly sounds like a totally different band.
VIXI is unforgivingly relentless, charged by seething down-tempo riffs and truly vitriolic vocals. Their misanthropic sludge is reminiscent of Black Sheep Wall or even Primitive Man, especially in how the vocals weave in and out of the guitars but crucially, Relic Point uses melodic tendencies to conjure their own identity. At times throughout the record, the prototypical sludge morphs into razor sharp riffs that sound more Meshuggah than anything else, that’s if Meshuggah decided to experiment with bitter doom metal.
‘Conversion Disorder’ opens with filthy miasmic riffs meshed with a grimy and crunchy undergrowth of bass guitars, which really set the atmosphere that eventually twists and contorts into a hazy and haunting closing with serene guitars coming up at odds with the bilious vocals. For the most part Relic Point bludgeon but have a penchant for flickers of beauty here and there.
This is manifested in the crushing ‘Fall of Slaughterhouse’, which is one of the tracks that was re-recorded from the demo and given a whole new verve and life force. Cavernous riffs give way to wretched vocals and shimmering atmospherics at the song’s climax before reverting back into a convulsive and almost-grooving sludgy riff to close, which then leads us into the funereal tones of final track, ‘Flauros’, a staggering behemoth of rancorous sludge and scornful vocals.
VIXI is an impressive debut album from a band that is showing potential moving forward. The sludge game is pretty over populated right now so it will be difficult for Relic Point to seize some space for themselves but VIXI will certainly make a valiant effort to do so.