A story: Once upon a time, I saw Vatic live. I loved their set so much, I was immediately keen to check out their music afterward. So on the drive home, I quickly searched for them on Spotify while I was stopped at a traffic light and then hit the “Shuffle Play” button before heading home down the freeway. Soon enough, I realised that I was listening to the same two songs in a loop (“Lament” and “Elegy” featuring Thornhill‘s Jacob Charlton). Yep, I felt super dumb, but I’d assumed that a band that sounded so great and had such a strong stage presence would have had a sizeable discography too.
So the point of all of this (a “happily ever after”, if you will) is that it’s really good news that Vatic have new music coming! The band’s debut EP Inhibition will release on 20th September, and it includes the single “Shade”, which released last week. The Melbourne five piece had the skilled ears of Nick Sjogren (Thornhill) take on the roles of recording, engineering, mixing, and mastering, and co-producing the new music with them.
“Shade” as a song is rough going, with its delicate introduction belying the sense of thrashing frustration that’s to come. “It seems to be another night that I didn’t fucking sleep again” roars vocalist Matt Payne, before he and we get swept away into the tense and dark atmosphere of the track.
Sinking further and further, not even the searching vocals from Zakary Luttrell can lift the state of mind, with the two voices entwined together before falling into the darkness of a breakdown. It comes across like the aftermath of loss, and dealing with the fallout from it, and the two voices could easily be different moods, people, or perspectives.
“A withered man I’ll ever be. A better man you’ll never see.”
Skin-crawling slides along guitar strings and whispers from Matt inch the track forward, landing into an impressively emotionally impactful moment (around 1:20). Heart-wrenching riffs seep like blood, with an atmosphere that seems to get even more dense and harrowing. I’m torn between soaking up the fullness of the emotional experience while also loving the guitar tones (around 1:57) and how deftly everything is operating together.
There’s no “happily ever after” when it comes to the story of “Shade”. It’s an ever darker experience seeming to push the protagonist towards death instead of continuing to endure the pain of grief. A stuttered rhythm and a sudden end is where we’re left.
Watch “Shade” below, and stay tuned for Inhibition on 20th September!