Vials of Wrath return with an interim ep to tide us all over until the next full length is released. Every superlative written about the first two VoW releases applies here, but there is even more as the overall tone seems a bit brighter and the compositions are structurally different giving a fresh sound that is still recognizable as VoW.
Atmospheric, ambient black metal is a genre that seems to combine incompatible elements and perhaps that is why when done well, it simply works. Vials of Wrath has continually supplied excellent music sine the first release, Seeking Refuge, which began in the fall of 2009 when DC Mills, wanted to write Bible-based music in the vein of atmospheric black metal similar to Agalloch, Alcest, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Drudkh. Those who follow the former Bloodline Severed guitarist on social media have undoubtedly seen the beautiful, raw, pictures Mills has taken of the Smoky Mountains and local forest and with those images in mind, the songs provide the perfect accompanying soundtrack, much like how Swedish/Norwegian black/death metal conjures up the images and feel of winter.
Ever the skeptic, I went into the first album thinking I was going to hate it, but found myself instantly drawn in and then with Days Without Names there was a further progression in everything that was good in Seeking Refuge. So, without knowing the backstory behind Ataraxia, my expectations were high and true to form, the only disappointment was that this is just a 3 song, 18 minute ep. Later I learned that this ep was actually older material that wasn’t ever going to be released. Sonically, the overall tone is much brighter than Seeking Refuge and Days Without Names and as Mills put it the songs “are not indicative of where I am currently.”