By Jason Herring, January 22 2015 —
Known for intense and innovative live shows, Viet Cong’s self-titled debut captures all of the energy the band is known for. The album is a dominating and confident release by the brightest young band in Calgary’s music scene.
Viet Cong was formed after the unfortunate end of the popular rock band, Women, in 2012. The band is headed by vocalist Matt Flegal, and includes other talented Calgarian musicians such as ex-Women drummer Mike Wallace and Chad VanGaalen’s guitarist, Scott Munro.
The music on Viet Cong is defined by throbbing post-punk instrumentals and intense, laboured vocals. Flegal’s vocals are reminiscent of experimental rock band Swans, both in terms of delivery as well as lyrics. Flegal gives a particularly impressive performance in the album’s lead single, “Continental Shelf.”
Experimental songs on this album are similar to the work of the industrial band Throbbing Gristle. “March of Progress” spends its first half building a mesmerizing wall of distorted guitars before dropping into the album’s best and most pop-inspired melody.
The end of album opener, “Newspaper Spoons,” offers one of the most stunning moments in Viet Cong as repetitive distorted guitars gradually fade to reveal a strangely beautiful synthesizer refrain.
The true masterpiece is the 11-minute epic “Death,” which closes the record with an ear-piercing drone that is nothing less than spectacular. This is music that cannot be passively listened to — it demands attention.
Viet Cong is an incredible debut: immaculately produced, free from filler and magnetically confident. This band is going to make waves in 2015.