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Rock Midgets

Vert Accepting Denial
Casket

Vert have collected some impressive support slots; from underground heroes like Million Dead and Mendeed, to hype-magnets like Enter Shikari. After 2004's 'No Retreat, No Surrender' E.P. they were playing to a wide range of gig-goers; supporting bands as varied as pop-punkers Caffeine and searing noisemakers Devil Sold His Soul. Three years later, and with recent changes in line-up, they're ready to unleash their debut full-length 'Accepting Denial'.

Dodgy title aside, this is a beast of an album. Guitars with this weight shouldn't go this fast they certainly shouldn't be so catchy, yet Andy Walker crafts some immense riffs on 'Accepting Denial'. Opener 'Echo' sets a standard, one that could quite easily become generic, but instead assaults with a pace near-impossible not to move to. One thing that becomes abundantly clear, especially on 'Reducer (seep)', is the influence of the amazing Earthtone9; weighty slabs of groove-laden noise are all over the album, but never so much that they could be accused of mimicry. Tracks like the brooding 'Feeling' and acoustic-led 'My Desolation' slow things down, adding a gentler touch, while album highlight 'A Scream For Independence' includes a verse you'd expect from a Hundred Reasons track, before it suddenly converts into a seething fury more reminiscent of Metalcore. It should be a mess, but the result is an outstanding, head-banging monster.

It's not all spot-on though; Frontman Steve Braund can scream like a man being ravaged by a bear in a pit of nettles, but when it comes to actually singing, it gets decidedly ropey. Luckily for softer number 'My Desolation' it's bearable, but on 'Chasing The Spark' and 'Skin' it mars the impact considerably. Nevertheless, the potential here is almost as colossal as the riffs. Accepting Denial isn't perfect, but it will own your neck muscles. An unpolished gem.

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