Inward to Gethsemane


there isn’t any way to truly deny just how hellish and hopeless “Inward to Gethsemane” is—and how those very descriptors make the album an impressive yet nasty year end surprise.
December 19, 2023

VASTUM is a death metal band from California who formed in 2009. “Inward to Gethsemane” is the band's fifth full length album, in addition of a split album in 2018. This is the first album I've heard of the band. Sadly, I haven't had the time to go back and listen to any of their other music. Though I am going into this release deaf to their prior music, I did discover in my research the band's other albums are well respected. After exposure to “Inward to Gethsemane,” it isn't hard to figure out why they are so loved and praised. It has three main ingredients that make it a towering stack of death: Atmosphere, songwriting, and production.

The atmosphere is a bag of filth, bleak and profane. Brutal? Yeah, it is brutal; it is death metal after all. But this is another layer of brutality….a layer of utter misery. This album is just sick and twisted to the core. Much like IMMOLATION’s “Harnessing Ruin,” this is a death metal album that manages to be atmospheric without using any of the tropes that usually come with it. The production is dirty and just raw enough to make that atmosphere really dim. Every instrument, including vocals, are an extra circle to this death metal hell. But despite the never ending density the album emits, the album’s sound never allows it to be messy or muddled. This is death incarnate coming straight towards you, pure and simple in its evil glory.

None of the aforementioned elements would matter if the songs sucked. They suck the light out of the room but they are expertly well written. This band has been together awhile now, have found their sound and groove, and are sticking to it. I can tell they went into this album knowing exactly what they wanted and how to present those wants as the profane screams of the night that emit from my headphones. Their overall sound is very much rooted in more of an OSDM flavor but the terrifying songs push the album beyond being just a mere tribute to the glory days of a bygone era. The album begins with “In Bed With Death,” and the ominous tones it brings along beside it. The perfectly toned riffs are both a miasma of acid fog that permeate the senses and a monolith that stands the test of time. Aftering dropping hammers for a nearly three minutes, the song fades just slightly before the groove comes back slower and three times as effective

Stillborn Eternity” is a little more intricate but the methodical nature of the riffs are still extremely sweltering. Mid paced parts intertwine with small moments of slower attacks that bring together a death ride. The drums and bass stand out particularly well, nearly exhausting yet played with an insane about of deadly clarity. The speed attack of “Indwelling Archon” is whiplash but the head isn’t going to stop rolling because that blazing guitar solo keeps blowing these scorched winds. The riffs after the solo are IMMENSE in their ferocity and thick as mud.

The album ends with one of the best songs, “Corpus Fractum.” This song is almost stomach churning in how sickening and depraved it sounds. The entire song gives the same feeling you get when you descend up really high then drop like a rock. This feverish brutality reaches that point with a disturbing mid section that falls out in a cacophony of drums and bass that guide the riffs and vocals to the end. Some might say the songs are too similar to each other or maybe it’s extreme for the sake of it but regardless of how you feel, there isn’t any way to truly deny just how hellish and hopeless “Inward to Gethsemane” is—and how those very descriptors make the album an impressive yet nasty year end surprise.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








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"Inward to Gethsemane" Track-listing:
  1. In Bed With Death
  2. Priapic Chasms
  3. Stillborn Eternity
  4. Judas
  5. Indwelling Archon
  6. Vomitous
  7. Corpus Fractum
Vastum Lineup:

Leila Abdul-Rauf - Guitars, Vocals

Daniel Butler - Vocals

Chad Gailey - Drums

Colin Tarvin - Bass

Shelby Lermo - Guitars

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