Now that the Brooklyn-based Vaz has been a band for more than a decade, we can stop mentioning that two of its three members used to be in the superb Am-Rep Records '90s outfit Hammerhead.
The latest release from the trio is its most accessible yet (not a burn). The title track doesn't have the sing-along quality of, say, a "Born to Be Wild." Instead, it has thundering rhythm guitars, spitting snake-like leads and rumble-bunny drums chock-full of adroit tom-tom thumping and lickety-split time changes. Vocalist/guitarist Paul Erickson even has a bit of a chorus going. But like most of the album's six tracks, instrumental ass-kickery seems to be the focus.
The final track, "Plague Ship," pulls into port as advertised, sounding like a rotted vessel filled with the buzzing locusts of Erickson's and Tyler Nolan's counterpoised guitars: one ax grunts a heavy, fist-pumping riff while the other shakes out the quivering clang of dissonant bells. Erickson's almost laconic vocal delivery marks a place for listeners to find equilibrium in the constantly shifting sonic sea of liquid electricity and Jeff Moordian's quaking drums, the song and the album eventually sinking into an undertow of doomful feedback.
Vaz plays the Badlander Mon., Nov. 11, at 10:30 PM, after trivia. Free.