Vials of Wrath makes the Christian black metal subgenre work to its full potential. The name is a moniker for solo artist DC Mills’ work in this venue, and Days Without Names is the second full-length release from the outfit, following 2013’s acclaimed debut, Seeking Refuge. The new album features seven tracks that span the black metal style, from blast beats and hard-hitting riffs to environmental instrumentals and the peppered use of eerie vocals, Days Without Names embodies what you want to hear from an atmospheric, almost shoe-gaze, black metal album.
Vials of Wrath distances themselves in the genre, doing a great job of creating an experience to send you into another world. As you listen along, you can feel how the band draws inspiration from nature. By incorporating slow, melodic lines with environmental effects and sounds, you can envision a world that looks a lot like Game of Thrones. The atmospheric instrumentation and lack of vocals also helps sell the mood Vials of Wrath intends to create. To help along the way, guest musicians (drums come from R. Michael Cook from A Hill To Die Upon on two songs, a guitar solo from Derek Corzine of Blood Thirsty and Whisper From Heaven and vocals by Aaron Macemore from Bloodline Severed and Open the Eye) bring the songwriting and talent to top-notch.
The band’s execution of the instrumental also makes this album special. The diversity of the band’s instrumentation and their ability to create and maintain storylines without vocals makes it appealing to more than one genre. (Listen to the track “Revival of the Embers.”) The structure of the songs are long, but the ebb and flow and musical changes make it unnoticeable. The vocals, though rarely used, are well executed. With this release, Vials of Wrath has a great opportunity to build a dedicated fan base and rise to the top of the unblack genre.