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Truly delirious and haunted experimental BM / Southern Gothic debut - 95%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, June 9th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, Digital, Moonlight Cypress Archetypes (Bandcamp)

Based in Tennessee, Vile Haint originally started as a side project of two musicians who already had another Southern Gothic / raw BM project called Primeval Well. Both Primeval Well and Vile Haint play experimental BM mixed with the folklore and music of the US Deep South: the main difference between the two bands is that Primeval Well's music has strong Appalachian folk roots while Vile Haint draws inspiration from west Tennessee and lands along the lower Mississippi River. The duo's name "Vile Haint" refers to a ghost in the folklore of this part of the US and "Ol' Hatchie Haint", the name of VH's debut album, is the ghost that haunts the Hatchie River region of southwestern Tennessee where VH drummer Zac Ormerod grew up and imbibed stories about Ol' Hatchie Haint during his childhood.

It is worthwhile to just let this album rip a few times and allow the music to flood over you as it has a delirious and haunted atmosphere. You will be drawn into the haunted world it comes from; you may never come out of it even after the last track ends. The production is dark and murky, and there is a feeling of oppression from the heat and humidity of the region, and from the culture with its dark history of genocide and slavery, and the poverty and religious fanaticism that followed the US Civil War and the destruction it caused. Much of the music is very deranged and frenetic, and dives into dissonant chord structures which add even more darkness and insanity. Ormerod's drumming especially can be crazed and furious, and becomes truly virtuosic across several tracks in its intensity and the way it constantly changes and mixes rhythms and beats. The guitars are constantly steaming with a strong corrosive acid tone (though lead guitar solos are usually clean in tone) and the ghostly vocals screech and howl in the dark and smoking background.

The album mixes instrumental tracks of dark ambient (where deranged organ may dominate) and melancholy folk acoustic guitar noodling with raw steamy black metal frenzy and unhinged blues guitar. The music has a strong flowing quality from the ever-changing percussion and its focus is strong if obsessive. All the BM-oriented songs are good and boast great musicianship, much of it probably improvised jamming, and listeners can't help but be carried away into otherworldly dimensions. "Giving Wings to Puritanical Satan" becomes ever more intense and maddened thanks to looping repetitive music going off-key. "Ol' Hatchie Haint" goes off into another, even more disturbed and maybe psychopathic universe parallel to ours. These are tracks I highly recommend though others are just as batshit crazy. The energy and madness are incredibly ferocious yet listeners can also hear and feel the despair and alienation in much of the music, especially where cold ambient droning synthesiser or clean-toned lead guitar becomes prominent.

Steeped in dark Gothic Americana of the Deep South, this atmospheric BM album is a musical experience to savour. The Vile Haint guys have turned in a work that is sure to gain cult status in years to come.