Vacuous – Dreams of Dysphoria

/ 0 Comments / By :
London’s based death metal quintet Vacuous has brought forth its highly anticipated first full-length studio album 'Dreams of Dysphoria' via Me Saco Un Ojo Records (Vinyl) and Dark Descent Records (CD) on October 14th, 2022. Being one of the most promising acts in the sub-genre of cavernous death metal in recent years, Vacuous succeeded in laying its sound with its 2020 debut EP 'Katabasis'. Their lineup consists of vocalist Jo Chen, guitarists Michael Brodsky, Ezra Harkin, drummer Max Southall and bassist Damiano S.

Right from the get-go the guitars set a creepy tone on the opening track ‘Devotion’ which is easily my favorite track of the album. Slowly beating drums build on the tempo with dual vocal shrikes and deep guttural growls making a great setup for the eerie guitar riffs. While the insertion of the guitar chords and the semi-doomy approach offer a darker obscure vibe, the clear sound production and the abrasive guitar riffs are the true highlights of the album. There is also innovative work concerning the overall performance of the guitars, showing the full range of expanding on the atmospheric style of death metal. Few bands can explore the spheres of spectral guitar patterns, but Vacuous’ musical shifts are captivating and thrilling. Without drawing any similarities to the likes of Blood Incantation, Grave Miasma and Cruciamentum, the quintet shrewdly utilizes compelling elements and incorporates them into their music.

The blast beats become prominent on the following track ‘Body of Punishment’ where the drums and the fast riffing pace move to a blistering tempo. The track has a nightmarish aspect with the guitars and the monstrous deep growls resonating at different pitches. An eerie atmosphere begins to manifest when the slow guitar dirges work in tandem with the slow pounding drums as the music conjures images of ghastly apparitions. ‘Dreams Of Dysphoria’ is a spectral, cavernous kind of record. The guitars revolve various inspirations from death/doom. Despite the slower, atmospheric moments the tempo changes work in favor of the music. Vacuous gives us a splendid display with their ability to execute a fast-paced riffing assault: the drums are crushing and possess the sheer ability to move from slow to fast-paced speed and bludgeoning attacks.


Things get really creepy with ‘Matriarchal Blood’ as the drums shift into grinding blast beats mode and the guitar work channels the atmospheric spectrum of death metal. Maneuvering from these slow, eerie moments, the guitars capture ambient drones. The profound impact of the guttural reverberation manifests throughout the time length spanning 32 minutes. Ominous guitars provoke some unsettling moments on the following track ‘Paranoia Rites’ which begins to formulate dark, cavernous riffs. However, it feels like these riffs emanate from the ancient depths of the abyss. Vacuous has sculpted some sharp lethal riffs.

The sheer ability to slither from one sound to another suggests that the quintet has forged a cohesive spectrum. Another aspect of the album is the high utilization of instruments which provides a cohesive dimensional sound. Though the guitars maintain a high degree of composition, one can be lost within the music. The rapid blast beats steer straight into the maelstrom chaos. The nuances of death/doom formulate, when the guitars create these gloomy passages, adding a dose of doom-laden riffs before the drums grind forward. ‘Stigmata Scourge’ maintains a very high level of musicianship in which the vocals range from low guttural growls to grunts and frenzy shrieking. ‘Dreams of Dysphoria’ is a polished album: the clarity of the instrumentation and the vocals work to a tee and the sharp riffs draw the listener to a full, thrilling experience.

The album also features a short interlude track ‘Lucid’ which is a chilling instrumental interval, saturated with dark ambient clean guitar passages which provoke a haunting, eerie mood. The final track ‘Dreams of Dysphoria’ is the longest track, clocking in at 6 minutes long, with the spectral guitar intro providing a gloomy mood. The cavernous cacophony immediately builds on the slow drumming work. The guitars retain the riffing assault. There are some black metal elements to this track, mostly in the vocal tone, while the whole atmosphere is somewhat doomy. The bass guitar is layered with contorting guitars, hence achieving a momentum tempo. The track sounds like a march to the realm of the dead. While the rest of the song shifts into a mid-tempo, the chugging guitars intermix with the pacing drums and dark brooding guitars insert some catchy spectral melodies.


  • Music / Songwriting 8/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 8/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 8/10
  • Originality 8/10

Vacuous first studio album ‘Dreams of Dysphoria’ perfectly fits the eerie style of cavernous death metal. This is recommended for fans of Spectral Voice, Blood Incantation and Void Rot.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *