Jersey metal supergroup’s fourth LP soars with dark lyrical themes and an old-school doom metal feel.

The night is darkest before the dawn. As the world rides out the hopefully last, but most horrific chapter of the pandemic, the question remains: how will everyone react when it actually comes to an end? Will people step outside their homes, stretch and wince as they stare into the sun or will they lust for dark escape: gory horror films and novels; the most extreme forms of metal? If the latter holds true, Vessel of Light is certain to be part of the soundtrack.

After a pair of well-received full-length records and a self-titled EP, the band have established their Black Sabbath-meets-Alice in Chains sound on the new Last Ride. Unlike most doom metal bands that bludgeon listeners over the head with sludgy, molasses-slow, bottom-heavy riffs (Sleep and Electric Wizard immediately come to mind), Vessel of Light take a meaty, but less self-indulgent 70s approach. Lyrically, the album is full of dark and sinister songs such as “Torture King,” “Carving Station,” and “Voices of the Dead,” which, at times, is the torture porn equivalent of the Saw movies. Still, the band never gets as outrageously gory as Cannibal Corpse, Mortician, or Six Feet Under.

For most metal heads, Last Ride will provide a purging, cathartic listening experience. But would anyone expect anything less from a New Jersey supergroup that includes legendary guitarist Dan Lorenzo (Hades and Non-Fiction), bassist Jimmy Schulman (Hades and Attacker), drummer Ron Lipnicki (Hades and Overkill), and vocalist Nathan Opposition (Ancient Wisdom)? The only thing missing from this dark metal equation is the opportunity to see Vessel of Light perform.