Ask any fan of Vindicator (UK) if good things come to those who wait, and you’re liable to hear a variety of responses ranging anywhere from “it better” to “are they even a band anymore?” The confusion about whether Vindicator still exists is understandable, forgivable even; considering the band has appeared to be inactive for the last several years. However, Vindicator were anything but. Behind the scenes, the band was very much alive and well, writing, rewriting and eventually recording their long awaited third release, Black Sacrament. A process that took so long, there were times the band themselves didn’t know if the album was going to come to fruition or not.
“Its been recorded, we’re pretty much just waiting to get the CDs printed,” said Dave Ingram, bassist of the blackened-thrash outfit from Yorkshire. Known throughout the UK as an avid fan, a brutally honest critic and a dedicated promoter, Ingram sounds a bit relieved, almost as if a massive weight has just been lifted off his shoulders. “We started writing the first songs in 2011…We kind of went full steam ahead in 2013…It was a long time coming,” Ingram says with a laugh.
Ingram’s relief is understandable, five years after all, is a long time for any band to spend writing an album. Vindicator, however, aren’t just any other band. They’re masters of their craft as made evident by their 2009 debut EP Outbreak and its subsequent follow-up, 2011s Undead in Leather. Both releases combined a flurry of influences to create riff laden blackened thrash which garnered the band high praise and a small following of devoted fans around the UK. But even with a new album, is a five year absence even possible to overcome? Such a prolonged silence would be career suicide for most bands. Again, Vindicator aren’t like most bands. Instead of fading into obscurity, the band has emerged from their dark corner of the world with Black Sacrament, a 9-track album which not only marks the bands long awaited return but raises the bar for metal to unprecedented levels.
Meticulously combining hard rock, prog, black metal, and just about everything else in between, Vindicator have created an album that transcends the boundaries of ordinary thrash metal while still very much remaining rooted in the genre. “We’re influenced by everything and I think that that’s the key,” said Ingram. “A friend of mine once said to me, ‘a band who listens to nothing but Slayer is going to only know one thing and that is how the sound like Slayer.’” While Ingram acknowledges that there’s nothing wrong with doing the “stereotypical thrash stuff” he, like many others, has grown tired of the same old thing. “We’ve already got Slayer and we already got 1,000 Slayer clones, so who’s gonna stand out?”
Standing out is one thing Black Sacrament doesn’t have to worry about. The album is a diamond in a genre so often filled with rough. Tracks like “Pravus Divinus,” “Plaguebearer,” and “Ritual Slaughter” are laced with the furious headbanging riffs fans have come to expect from Vindicator, while tracks like “Monolith,” “Black Mass,” and the near 7-minute instrumental, “Event Horizon” take the band into uncharted territory and will leave even the most seasoned prog metal fans salivating from the sheer beauty and complexity of their atmospheric interludes.
“We recorded everything ourselves,” said Ingram, “we did the drums in a rehearsal studio…the rest we recorded at Verm’s place.” Though the overall sound on the album is far from polished, something Ingram says the band would have liked to improve on could not due to lack of funds, it certainly works, giving the album a raw, aggressive edge that is often lost with today’s high quality production standards. “A lot of bands these days play everything to a click and everything super polished and super loud and it just sounds fucking perfect. There’s no dynamics and it’s just not interesting” said an exasperated Ingram. “It’s kind of just a trend in metal these days, I can’t fault it if that’s kind of what the standards become…It’s nice to have something different I think.”
While no official release date for the album has been announced, Black Sacrament is already receiving high praise from critics and fans alike. And rightfully so. Vindicator may very well be sitting on the best album of 2016. An album that could very well catapult the band to new levels and cement their place as one of the best metal bands in the underground today. “There’s a lot on the album that we’re really proud of,” said Ingram. With an album as good as Black Sacrament, who would blame them?
Lookout for Black Sacrament later this year and be sure to follow Vindicator on Facebook for any and all updates regarding the band.
Listen to the full interview with Dave Ingram in the player below.