Viking's Choice

Song Premiere: Batillus, 'The Division'

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Batillus. i

Batillus. Courtesy of Scott Irvine hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Scott Irvine
Batillus.

Batillus.

Courtesy of Scott Irvine

Imagine if your favorite instrumental metal band (Dysrhythmia, Scale the Summit or Serpent Throne, to name a few) suddenly added a vocalist. Would you feel betrayed? Would it feel like they had been living a lie? That in their beer-addled minds there had always been a singer, wailing on and on about dragons and whatnot?

Thankfully, Brooklyn's Batillus only got better after Fade Kainer joined the doom metal band.

A vocalist is more than just a lyrical outlet or a cheap way to disguise a bland arrangement. A good vocalist compliments sound. A great vocalist is an instrument — your Mike Pattons, Attila Csihars, Cindy Wilsons and Kate Piersons (okay, those last two aren't remotely metal, but seriously, listen to the first B-52s LP and tell me those two ladies don't have the most phenomenally weird voices ever).

It's not that Batillus' three self-released EPs weren't good (they're downloadable for free, by the way), just that one sludgy riff after another does not a memorable recording make. And as punishingly heavy as it all was, there was something bare and unfinished about those EPs. It wouldn't be fair to heap all the praise on new vocalist Fade Kainer, though. The original trio still writes much of the music, but on a track like "The Division," Kainer's trash can-scraped screams, wild boar growls and droning industrial synths contribute an element of bottomless evil, sculpted from searing feedback and blistering riffs.

Furnace comes out April 19 on Seventh Rule Recordings. If you Google hard enough, you can preview practically half of the album.

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