Interview with Vatican
JUL 24
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We had the pleasure of interviewing Vatican over Zoom video.

Savannah, Georgia five-piece VATICAN has released their new album ULTRA, via UNFD.

Vatican are influenced by the "fuck you" frankness of heavy hardcore, but with the technical leads of djent and progressive metal. Cynical of technology, but enamored with video games. The band quickly began shaping their sound from nascent metalcore into something more complex and interesting.

By the time Vatican released their first full-length, Sole Impulse, in 2019, they had developed past their exploratory beginnings and were making a fairly serious mark in the scene with a polished, well-performed strain of challenging and confrontational metalcore. But an even more invigorating chapter began when vocalist Mike Sugars entered the fold in October 2020, replacing the band’s former frontman, John Whittle. Sugars had been fronting Indianapolis' Church Tongue, friends of Vatican who just so happened to be slowing down as a band when Sugars was contacted by Soto-Ramos. The mutual admiration of each other's dopeness led to an instant connection, with Sugars making his recorded debut on last year's Become a New God double single. He quickly infused the band with new energy, as well as an immediately focused lyrical theme of regaining self-control and owning one's problems in such a way that, well, one becomes their own god. Fast-forward to 2022.

With their latest full-length, Ultra, the band have metabolized all their ambitiously varied musical influences and merged them into a forward-thinking approach that pulls in their love of video games and subtle humor, resulting in an impossibly tasteful and wildly varied, post-modern metalcore affair.

As they did on other recent efforts, the band still harken to the complexity of Meshuggah’s polyrhythms and the Dillinger Escape Plan’s technical abrasion, as well as Hatebreed and Turmoil's more straightforward, metallic hardcore foundation – but there's also guitarist Tom Lovejoy's electronics and Sugars' clean singing.

Ultra is infused with the band's overall personality, and what results is a subtle aura of dark satire that's more refined than it sounds on paper. " Above it all, Sugars bellows, barks, and sometimes sings a wide range of topics spanning more emotions than just anger. To be sure, he rages against inhumane billionaires and the ills of nü-internet; grapples with mixed feelings towards his father; and much more.

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