REVIEW: Varials – Recollection [EP/2014]


Artist: Varials

Album: Recollection – EP


As far back as you can remember, you have always had a problem with authority. It began in middle school, blatantly disregarding the rules set down by your superiors—from skipping class to skating in the parking lot after school—you never had time to follow the rules. The trend continues, worsening, to a greater disrespect for social order. From juvenile acts of delinquency such as pouring salt in your boss’ coffee (and getting fired for it) to more belligerent outbursts towards greater societal order—slashing your ex girlfriends tires, starting fist fights with police officers and spending nights in your small, suburban correctional facility. While your acts of social deviance were never on the same scale as the John Dillenger or Jeffrey Dahmers you admired from the innermost cockles of your heart, they were the closest your small town would ever see. As far back as you know, you were always up to no good—and that’s what Varials’ Recollection is all about. Filled with dark, misanthropic memories and angry, bitter, sociopathic sentiment, Recollection is a dark, brooding and blisteringly heavy release that will give the listener cracked ribs, black eyes and broken bones—all with a heaping case of whiplash from just a little too much headbanging.

Recollection wastes no time in prying open the listeners mind to make itself at home. Rather than subtly sneak into the recesses of the listener’s brain to creep into their memory, Varials break into the listener’s hippocampus, prying open their thoughts by breaking through their skull with brute, bold brutality. “Deceive” launches at the listener’s face and throat and simply tears with vicious, down-tempo instrumentation that would do acts like Traitors and Immoralist proud. Intense, brain-twisting grooves lurch and turn, coiling around the listener’s throat like a snake, infecting mind and body with a truly viral, contagious nature. Meanwhile, “Deadbeat” combines Sean Rauchut’s pummeling, bone-busting percussion with Mike Foley’s bouncy, brilliant low-end bass work. All the while, Hohenwarter and Lyons continue with writhing, filthy grooves that just don’t let up, weighing down on the listener’s chest like an anvil and refusing to let them breathe. This is the instrumental motif for the duration of Recollections—well-honed, albeit occasionally contrived and run-of-the-mill examples of beatdown and down-tempo mastery that falters only in the sense that, at times, it fails to truly stand out from other moments of the EP. Varials manage to make the most of this situation, however, by doing what they do exceptionally well—because if the listener wants heavy, then heavy is what they’re going to get.

Once the bare-bones, bloody-knuckled beatdown instrumentation bashes its way through the listener’s skull, it’s up to the misanthropy and malice of the vocals to lay seeds of hate and hurt in the listener’s exposed conscience. Of all the tracks on Recollection, none does this better than “Overthinker.” Pure, uncensored anger—tinted with self-loathing—run rampant in this track, as vocalist Jared Pilieri slits open his chest and spills his heart and guts with bitter, deep growls and gruff, harsh yells. Throughout the duration of Recollection, Pilieri provides a constant, visceral component to the band’s sound that makes even the lighter, more transitional elements of Varials’ arsenal dense and suffocating. Because of the pure, adamant hatred Pilieri brings to the table with lurid, grotesque and—at the same time—emotional lyricism, there is not one moment of ethereal joy to be found throughout Varials’ release; making it all the better for fans of the furious and ferocious.

Together, with instrumentation that bashes an entrance for the maelstrom of misanthropic lyrics that Varials provide, once Recollection gets inside the listener’s head…it’s game over. There is no cure for the poisonous, infectious grooves that make up “Deceive,” nor are there casts firm enough or band-aids big enough to provide relief for the injuries instilled by “Deadbeat.” Recollection is a thorough lesson in beautifully constructed, blissfully ballistic beatdown—even with the tendency towards redundancy that finds itself a frequent misstep for a variety of bands in the genre. However, while Varials might fall prey to this fault, they don’t let it hold them down. Recollection is still a rampaging, rollicking release that snaps bones like twigs and siphons out the listener’s guts without a second thought. It is a discernably dense release that layers itself on the listener’s shoulders like a quilt woven from concrete and lead, weighing them down and refusing to let them stand straight. In a word, Recollection is relentless in the best way possible.

For the social misanthrope, the devious cretin and villainous shade in all of us, there is Varials’ Recollection. A collection of evil, brooding and bitter thoughts that levels everything in its path on its way to the forefront of the listeners mind, Recollection is every atom of the listener that has ever wanted to commit an act of evil—and even worse, it’s very convincing.



For Fans Of: Barrier, Immoralist, Kingmaker, Traitors, Shivers

By: Connor Welsh