Vessel – Vagabond Blues (2020)

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Who exactly are Vessel?  The easy answer is that they are a band from Bendigo, featuring Mason Matheson on vocals and bass, Jordan Forster on guitars and Hayden Collins on drums.  The lengthier answer is that they are a band who creates interesting music, utilising elements of fuzz rock, stoner groove and punk rock energy.  It’s a complex melting pot of styles, that is thoroughly enjoyable.

The bands second album opens with the title track, “Vagabond Blues”.  The band storms out of the gates with that punk rock energy.  It’s a solid way to get the album off to a good start.

Continuing on to “Twenty Twenty” the Bendigo natives settle into a killer groove, with some fantastic guitar accents throughout.  The vocals are a little shaken at times, but that lends itself to the very DIY nature of the music, and adds to the overall vibe.

“Atacama” is a lengthy jam that really serves to show off Vessels musical chops.  There’s nothing overly complicated here, but I have a notoriously short attention span, so the fact that they hold my attention for a six minute instrumental deserves kudos.

“Red Witch” is another epic, clocking in at six and a half minutes.  Opening with some brilliant guitar licks, before becoming a slab of fuzzy stoner goodness, this track is the centrepiece of the record, figuratively and literally.

“Dark in the Light” brings back a shorter, punk rock feel.  This track is carried by some bold bass guitar, and great drumming.  The lengthier jams are good, but these shorter tracks are the Vessel tracks that I enjoy a lot more.  “The Void Tempest” is the longest on offer, at times there’s a great cinematic feel to it – at other moments it’s dreamy and atmospheric.  It’s a little long for my liking, but it is very well constructed.

Closing out the album is “The Devil’s Backyard” – another long epic.  There’s an ominous and moody vibe at play here, coupled with the strong vocals from “Sue D. Nym”, it’s a killer closer, with some very strong guitar riffs.

The growth in Vessels sound is obvious, and if they continue to hone their craft, they will become a leader within Australian hard rock and metal music.

7/10

Shayne McGowan.

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