From the fiery crucible of Quebec’s metal scene, Vantablack Warship rises once more with their latest opus, “Last of the Hardmouthed Poets“. The ensemble, made up of stalwarts from an array of legendary bands including Les Ekorchés, Leprocy, Buffalo Theory Mtl, Arseniq33, and Ghoulunatics, have been fanning the flames of thrash, hardcore, and groove with unyielding tenacity.
Their second full-length album, while not the epitome of perfection, stands as a testament to the band’s relentless pursuit of their distinct sound and offers a compelling exploration of their musical narrative.
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“Last of the Hardmouthed Poets” strikes a precarious balance between the ending of eras and the cherishing of remnants. In this track-by-track review, we delve into an album that veers from the intense metal onslaught of the title track to the 80s hardcore-tinged climax of “Above it All”. With no room for filler, every song on the album emerges as an integral chapter of a story told with guttural vocals, intricate riffs, and pulverizing rhythmic textures.
Recorded by Patrick Knup at the famed Madame Wood Studios and mastered by Alberto De Icaza – who boasts a portfolio of collaborations with high-profile bands like Lamb of God, Clutch, and Spirit World – the album capitalizes on Vantablack Warship’s signature blend of thrash, death, and hardcore, with black metal undertones and extraordinary grooves. However, it’s also important to note that while the album doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it takes pride in its creative expression within its chosen genres.
“GONE” lyric video premiere:
In the local music scene, Vantablack Warship’s upcoming shows, including the 40th anniversary celebration of the legendary Foufounes Electriques and a performance alongside Demonstöne in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, are expected to demonstrate their potent live prowess. If you’re a fan of bands such as Cro-Mags, Exodus, and Cancer Bats, their high-octane thrash could indeed be to your taste. Yet, as we dive deeper into “Last of the Hardmouthed Poets”, remember to listen with an open mind, as the objective lens often illuminates the nuanced strengths and areas of growth that the subjective heart may overlook.
Track by Track explained by Vantablack Warship singer Yannick “Pil” Pilon’s perspective:
WE SHALL NOT SLEEP
The 1st song of the album (after the intro!). Big catchy riff that along with the drums pound solid! The 2nd part of the song is a big heavy breakdown which I repeat until the end ”Find what you love and let it kill you…” I love it! It opens the album nicely. Basically, we say that nothing will stop us from doing what we want. No matter the obstacles, we found what we love until we die…! It’s our choice as the 1st video… to do with… you!
HUNTING THE RECRUITER
It’s the slowest song on the album with a heavy screeching riff. Worse, I took my voice out of Tom Araya! Crisse that she returns to the station. In this song, we put the listener in the shoes of a sexual predator tracker who decides to take action to finish the activities of the latter… We played it 3 times in show and it’s the song that has the best reactions to date.
Our tribute to Slayer! From the first notes, put on your tuque, it’s pure trash! Pierre bludgeons his drum à la Lombardo and the guitars are surgical. The song refers to the promise made by the Union government during the Civil War to give freed African-American slaves 40 acres of farmland and a mule. A promise that ended badly… one of the many injustices suffered by African-Americans.
CHOOSE YOUR RIDE
The shortest song on the album, 1m.55 A real punch in the face! The bass is monstrous and the drum beat is haunting right through to the chorus which is powerful and fuckin’ catchy. It stays in your head! The message of the song is that you have to choose your own path in this crazy changing world. Not always in the right direction… According to Knup (the one who recorded and mixed the album), it’s the ”Hit” of the album! One of my top…
UNPLUG THE DRUG
Ho my god Becky! (early sampling). Song with a sick Groove! It contains my favorite guitar solo from the album. ”It’s time to turn the channel off, unplug the drug” that’s what we should do more often…the song is about shit that we are bombarded on our screens and that at a certain point, we have to ‘unplug’ ourselves to remain sane.
LAUGHING IN ANGER
The song is divided into 2 parts. The 1st is rather metal with a twist of swing when I shout “Somewhere, sometime, you’ll be reborn” The 2nd part embarks on a Hardcore/Punk trip, a crossover song! Pat and Thierry exchange solos, typical of 80s trash bands, really cool. The song is inspired by the spontaneous prose technique used in Jack Kerouac’s Dr.Sax and is about breaking free from frustrating situations and having the last word and/or laughing… Huh!… We are able to play to the nerds!
INSIDE HIS MIND
Fuckin’ death riff! I really like my vocals on this song. When the choruses arrive it opens up so much! We added sharp and dissonant guitars to have a bit of a Black metal feeling! The song is in a way a reflection on a suicidal person, silence, and secrecy. We don’t provide answers, only questions…
Moi pis Pat we think that if there is a song from the album that could go to CHOM, it’s her! It wasn’t our original intention, but it’s our radio-friendly song. The bridge is very eye-catching. It’s a look at the 1st strict confinement that we had. We pushed the reflection if this one had been extended forever! Looks like Vantablack trying to make a System of a Down tune…!
I love the beginning of the tune, the guitar with a less loud ca-cane sound and when the band embarks it rocks! The chorus with the dissonant guitar is really cool (a nod to old Meshuggah!). The bridge (breakdown) is really too cool in the song. It makes you feel like headbanging until your head drops… It’s about the fact that there are so many bands who want to become ”rich n famous” who are ready to do anything whatever they forget the basics… write good songs!
ABOVE IT ALL
The song that ends the album, is N.Y. Hardcore style! We wanted to do something different by bringing a clean vocal during the verses. Circle pit, Mosh pit, trash zone, pit, etc… it’s the perfect tune for that! I love Thierry’s guitar solo, it’s captivating! We wanted to image Yin and Yang through the deadly sins and what could be the opposite. We end up saying that we are above all this shit… I’m above, all of your bullshit, I’m above it all.