“Left in Despair,” Vaulted’s Death-Tinged Hardcore Festers (Early Album Stream)
Originally made famous by the Stockholm, Sweden scene in the early 1990s, the buzzsaw-sounding HM-2 pedal has spread far and wide—and it's a part of what gives Vaulted, a metallic hardcore band based out of Boston, their metallic edge. In fact, the Scandinavian sounds are all over Left In Despair from the outset of opener “Forged In Darkness”. Vaulted make their mark by repeatedly beating your head in with riffs that change speeds and drums that do not quit. The tracks here are quick and to the point and never overstay their welcome; there is a designed level of violent precision that Vaulted work towards with each breakneck outing.
Vaulted take a genre that Trap Them had created—what became "Entombed-core"— but their snappy approach is more rooted in the hardcore side of things, without the fear of having to slow down. Vocalist Cody Rico sounds very influenced by the LG Petrov’s of the world with a lot of Left Hand Path apparent in his yelled, yet growled vocal approach, and maintaining a similar illusory feeling of being somehow off in the distance really evokes that inspiration in tandem with the guitar tone of “When Life Goes On”.
Today we premiere Left In Despair, the band’s second album and one that guitarist Christian Henderson refers to as the next in “an album to album progression”. Henderson also talked to me about the time in between the recording of Asylum Memoirs through today as well as what influenced their sound, what’s playing on the tour bus, and a particular incident that took place on the hills of San Francisco. The new album is a blast of hardcore energy with a death metal delivery that will bring you back 30 years, not lacking the ability to surprise and suppress you all at the same time with waves of heaviness.
What has the time since Asylum Memoirs been like for the band? How different has it become?
Since we released Asylum Memoirs, we’ve grown a lot as a band. We saw our bassist Daniel Leahy move to guitar to join Christian as a two guitar situation. And we added Nicholas Wolf on bass guitar. Our drummer Matthew McSweeney who has recorded on all our material including Left In Despair has since moved on from Vaulted, we are currently in between drummers. But we are in a great place in the metal community as drummers are usually eager to fill in where they are needed!
You describe yourselves as a death metal/metallic hardcore collective, care to elaborate on that a bit?
Our influences for this band have always been rooted in the metal and death metal world. We are always progressing as a band. We all come from Metal, Hardcore, Punk and DIY backgrounds. When I (Christian) started Vaulted some years ago, I left a band where I was the vocalist, and Vaulted was my first attempt at playing guitar in a band (and first serious attempt at playing guitar in general). For Cody, Vaulted is his first attempt at being a vocalist (He is a drummer). For Dan, Vaulted is his first band as a guitarist. So naturally you’re witnessing an album by album progression from us. To put it simply, our first few records were more formative and could be perceived as metallic/crossover and genre bending, And now with our own personal progress playing and writing our “new” instruments, the more we’re beginning to capture the metal and death metal sound we aimed to create when we started this band. We feel that with the release of Left In Despair, we finally have something that defines our sound and shows a great step in the progress of our work.
How did the band come together at least initially and what aspects of that have kept it fresh for you all over time?
Cody and I once played together in a band. We met Dan in college years as our bands played together often. We met Matt through playing shows with all of our bands. Vaulted played a lot with Nick’s bands so when We needed a bass player it was only fitting to get Nick to switch from guitar to bass for this band. Although Cody got his start in Bay Area Hardcore, We’ve all been apart of the New England area metal and hardcore scenes for quite some time. We’ve made friends and met a lot of people and spent time together in many different settings, stages, and cities at different points in our lives, so that sense of community, Friendship and constant family reunion is what keeps it real for us.
What are some tour staples in the CD player or just things that the band can agree on?
-Podcasts, Comedy, or 311(jk but not really?). We generally keep it light in the van and we try to avoid extreme music to give our ears a rest from the nightly beating they take. But mostly the music choice depends on whose driving, so I’d say it’s all variable. But we all can agree on most bands and music that's being played on our drives, I’d say it’s often laid back.
Where is Vaulted's guitar sound rooted? Name a few bands here if you can.
I’ve been obsessed with Swedish Death Metal for quite some time. It’s bands like Entombed, Dismember and At the Gates that real nail that in your face guitar tone that makes you feel like you’re being chased into a snow blind Frenzy. I’d settle on that Hm2 sound as the perfect rhythm tone. But that’s only the beginning for me. As far as lead tones go, adding that tasteful perfect spice to any song is ideal to me. There will always be a special place in my heart for all Floridian Death Metal, and Morbid Angel’s Trey Azagthoth hands down is the most creative Soloist of all Death Metal. But it would be wrong for me not to mention Eddie Van Halen as a big influence as well when it comes to creating mind bending and genre expanding additions to the riff.
What are some favorite tour memories so far? What do you look most forward to in terms of getting back on the road?
We have many that we’d like to share, but I’ll leave y’all with one in particular that may give you some insight. We often don’t make the best decisions while on the road and I’d blame that on fatigue, boredom or group think? You decide. One time we were in San Francisco on a west coast tour, and the 4 of us (at the time) were restless. Earlier in the day, we met a friend of ours who had a connection to a dispensary somewhere in CA. He blessed us with a handful of Weed laced treats, one of which was a 500MG brownie whose packaging depicted a bear with fluorescent Lasers coming out of its eyes, needless to say we weren’t aware of what was to come later that day. It was nightfall and we showed up to a friend's house to stay the night. Cody had a broken leg at the time and he was toughing it out for this tour, but the San Francisco hills didn’t care. For some reason there were no street lights and we all split the 500mg treat and figured it was best to walk down to the beach, now little did we know we have been walking down at an incline for more than a mile. We spent our time at the beach and then it came time to walk back. We basically had to drag Cody up the hill for what seemed to be miles. If you could picture teammates carrying their injured teammate off the field on their shoulders, this was somewhat close to it. I would personally say this moment is the closest we as people will ever get to such an athletic moment.
All in all, we are excited to get back on the road this coming year and meet people and make more memories as a band and as friends.
I know you straddle the line between metal and hardcore so, what are some hardcore bands blowing up the scene at the moment?
We are big fans of bands that draw from a lot of influences like some of our favorite locals, High Command, Fuming Mouth, Vein.fm and Final Gasp.
Also Boston really has it going on, so there are too many bands to add.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Make sure you check our new album Left in Despair streaming everywhere and available on cassette through War Fever Recordings. And check out Nick’s band Severed Boy and their new album Tragic Encounters out via Caligari Records. Also Golf Is Death Metal.
Left in Despair releases November 19th independently via and with a cassette version through War Fever Recordings.