REVIEW: A Legacy Unwritten – Vanitati Mortem [2015]


Artist: A Legacy Unwritten 

Album: Vanitati Mortem


Everyone leaves a mark on this world—in one way or another, the life you live, no matter how brief, affects the lives of others. Whether it becomes an erudite crater resistant to the withering winds of time and change or a transient tick mark made in a corner of the planet where few will notice—you will make a mark and leave a legacy. Where they might have previously only effected the latter, Georgia juggernauts A Legacy Unwritten have solidified their spot in deathcore’s upper echelon, unleashing Vanitati Mortem. Vanitati Mortem is a magnificent full length release that uses a combination of lacerating blast beats laced with luscious technicality smashed headlong into eviscerating heaviness and bone-busting brutality to leave a lasting mark on a cramped genre that will have fans of heavy music singing their praises for centuries to come.

Despite the Latin root word hidden in the name, Vanitati Mortem is far from an empty display of vain and self-indulgent deathcore. Rather, A Legacy Unwritten are a vanquishing force to feared. From start to finish, Vanitati Mortem is a visceral display of skull-smashing aggression. At its core, the listener will discover percussionist Damian Lorch, who hammers away like the Energizer bunny on methamphetamines. From the first sinister snare cracks of “Sinners,” Lorch is a languishing, lacerating engine that is fueled by misanthropy and malice. Every track is a beautiful amalgam of hammering kick drum hits and skin-peeling blast beats that are carefully written and sprinkled with sublime fills to keep them from getting monotonous. Moments like the warm, fluid groove in “The Devil Speaks in Silence,” as well as the raunchy salvo of speedy blast beats in “Disembodied” drop the listener’s jaw straight to the floor, forcing them to wonder how bassist Adam Thomason even keeps up. But fear not—keep up Thomason does, and he seems to do it effortlessly. Even ramping up his attack on tracks like “The Devil Speaks in Silence” and the instrumental “Augmentation,” Thomason rears his head and steals the show with bouncy, bold grooves that cut through Lorch’s lurid fog of percussion like a knife through butter. However, Thomason is only able to hog the limelight occasionally—as between the picture perfect percussion from Lorch and the fretwork from Corey Richburgand Sean Behen, there simply isn’t much left to steal. Richburg and Behenare, in a word, monsters. Recklessly Galloping along a razor sharp and paper thin tightrope, the duo blend technicality, atmosphere and brutality in a way that hasn’t been done since Oceano’s Ascendants. Sprinkling sinister riffs among a sea of churning grooves and crushing breakdowns, Richburg and Behen are bold, beautiful and brutal talents that are peerless in their field. “Purity Defiled” is a punishing, perfect example: the duo go from riff-driven frenzy to ruthless heaviness while taking a pit stop to let loose a classically metallic solo—all within a minute, without it sounding contrived or forced.

A Legacy Unwritten are the best deathcore musicians the genre has seen in recent history—which means it’s a bold statement to say that vocalist Erik Green is the perfect compliment to the band’s instrumentation. It’s a big check, but Green cashes it like it was simply pocket change. Green has the range of Dan Watson, with the force of Ricky Hoover and the harrowing demand for respect and violence of Phil Bozeman. Green is a chimaera of crushing talent that shames the efforts of practically every other deathcore act out there. “Cranium Altercation” showcases his ability to blend and tweak vocal styles to provide a uniquely unholy atmosphere, while “F.M.D.” Is him at his most straightforward and sinister. His range spans grisly, slimy lows and shrieking, shrill highs, hitting harsh mid range yells and raspy, almost-inhaled tones without stopping for breath. If you’re still skeptical, give “F.M.D.” A listen and take a drink for every time you think it might be a different vocalist. Before the song’s halfway through, Green goes through enough pitches and tones to have Andre the Giant drunk under the table.

A Legacy Unwritten give the listener a little bit of everything on Vanitati Mortem. If you’re a fan of airy, melodic death metal and deathcore, they’ve got a song for that—well, several, really—as “Augmentation” and “F.M.D.” Have exactly what you want. Maybe you’re looking for no-holds-barred brutality? Turn your attention to “Sinners” or “Cranium Altercation”—or the conclusion to “Extinction.” Maybe you want the whole experience wrapped up in a nice little package? The album’s title track should be your first stopor a quick fix. A Legacy Unwritten paint the listener red with every style and speed of deathcore there is—and they do it with a talent and conviction that would make Van Gogh look like a preschooler with finger paint. Not a single second of Vanitati Mortem can be counted as filler—or anything other than furious heaviness—as this quintet are the new kings heavy music has been in dire need of.

Maybe the band of yesteryear may have been without a legacy, but with Vanitati Mortem, the band have made their mark, and made it clear. A Legacy Unwritten are the unholy spawn of sinister shred and bone-bending heaviness that heavy music fans around the world will bow in praise to—lest their head be cut clean from their neck.



For Fans Of: Oceano, Legion, Depths, Demolisher, King Conquer

By: Connor Welsh