Australia has given us some of the most undeniably talented, catchy, iconic, and unique metal bands in recent years, and they are continuing their trend of epic band production with Vipassi. They are composed of members of A Million Dead Birds Laughing, Hadal Maw, and even the drummer of Ne Obliviscaris. For anyone who is familiar with those groups, each of their influences are prominent throughout Vipassi‘s music, and it creates a distinctive concoction of emotion-filled, melodic, progressive music that really speaks to the soul. Instrumental bands are on the rise it seems, and with the anticipation of their upcoming album through Season of Mist Records, Sunyata, the project is certainly an eye-catcher for the genre’s increasing fan base.
One of Vipassi‘s guitarists, Ben Boyle, gave us the run down of how the band came to be:
Vipassi began around 2009 / 2010, at that time it had no name, and was a developing project myself and Dan (Presland) of Ne Obliviscaris had started as we had always wanted to work and write together. The material went through different styles and changes, until the song “Benzaiten” was completed, solidifying the sound and approach thereafter.
Our goal from the beginning was to create something that flowed, that was passionate and melodic, while retaining an inspired and extreme sound. Once we felt we had found what we had been striving for, good friends Brendan (Brown) and Benji (Baret) joined to help develop it further.
The sound that Vipassi delivers seems to be perfect for those who are fans of Beyond Creation or Persefone but with a distinguishably emotive and impassioned undertone that is somehow invigorating and soothing at the same time. Being an instrumental group, the missing vocal element puts more focus on the narrative, or essentially the conceptual story element, of each track. They are one of those bands such as Animals As Leaders or Polyphia where vocals would actually take away part of the hypnotic element that the instruments create, leaving listeners with a unique, keen experience after the closure of each song.
The name and upcoming album concept both have a related story regarding their origin:
The name Vipassi was suggested by Dan, it fit well with my motivations and the themes I was focusing on while writing the material, in that it harbours a reflective and meditative approach on different aspects of the world in nature, science, religion, and our relationship to these things.
With Vipassi I did a lot of reading on Buddhism, religion and belief systems throughout our history, and looked toward archetypal art and deities in different cultures and what they represented. It was a new approach for me, and it felt refreshing to seek inspiration from different mediums. A lot of Sunyata deals with cycles and conflicts between things like science and religion/faith, our place in nature, as well as dealing with our own collective past…about searching for the balance between all these things in our hopes to achieve a harmony in existing.
Boyle describes their music simply as, “colorful.”
If I used one word to describe it myself, I would use “harmony,” in every aspect of the word, both in elegant musical agreement and the uncommonly pleasing, peaceful feeling I get after listening to their metal.
For all our gearheads, the members of Vipassi have a commendable list of endorsements:
Dan is endorsed by and uses Pearl Drums, Remo, Zildjian, and Vic Firth. Brendan is endorsed by and uses Kiesel Guitars, Fractal Audio and DR Strings. Benji is endorsed by and uses ESP Guitars, Fractal Audio, Elixir Strings and Dunlop Picks. I myself am a big fan and supporter of Ormsby Guitars and Sherlock Amplifiers.
As far as the recording process, drums for Sunyata were tracked at Pony Studios in Melbourne with Troy Mccosker, guitars were tracked at home using Axe Fx, however the final guitar tone you hear is reamped via a Sherlock Fat Head.
Boyle also explained more of what he foresees in the near future for Vipassi:
We don’t have touring plans at this stage. We’ll see what the future brings with regards to that. I’d love to bring the material on the road, but it’s more dependant on my touring commitments with Hadal Maw as well as the other guys and their current commitments with Ne Obliviscaris. I’m currently working on the follow up to Sunyata and so far I am excited with where the material is headed. The writing process for the next album is happening much quicker, and hopefully can reach listeners some time in 2017 if all goes to plan.