Savannah, Georgia-based five-piece VATICAN, described as a “rising force” and a band you need to know by Revolver, as well as “bone-crushing” by Brooklyn Vegan, will issue their explosive new album ULTRA on June 17 via UNFD. Pre-order it here.
They are celebrating the album’s imminent release with the video for “Where Heavens Collide.” Watch it here.
The track is alternately moody and full of metallic maelstrom, effectively showcasing all sides of the band’s sonic personality. The accompany visual finds the band in performance mode, alternately obscured and in full view, which mirrors the quiet vs. loud nature of the song.
“This was the first song I ever sang on for the band or in general,” says frontman Mike Sugars. “Thankfully, I had the help of my band, my wife Maddy, and our producer Randy in the trenches with me to make this song and record what it is. The song is about recognizing yourself in someone you hate, and occasionally remembering that you once loved them as well.”
After developing a name for themselves and garnering press praise from Revolver, Kerrang!, New Noise, and more with 2019’s full-length Sole Impulse, Vatican stormed out of the gates hard in 2021, when they signed to UNFD and released their knockout double single effort Become A New God. Featuring singles “Absolute Reality” and “Fractured God,” both of which received full rotation adds on SiriusXM’s Liquid Metal, Become A New God saw Vatican tackling the complexity of the human experience and all its brokenness, uncertainties, strangeness, and need for constant self-reflection and improvement.” They followed with “Decemeta,” which dropped late last year at Brooklyn Vegan.
Vatican turned things up to 11 with ULTRA, crafting an album that uncompromisingly brutal, musically forward-thinking, and lyrically poignant. “ULTRA is everything that the individuals in this band wear on their sleeves, but pushed to the highest levels,” Sugars shares. “It results in a lot of different sounds, but they all have their place on the record. Everyone involved in the process of this record really put themselves in the mud for this. We have a lot of pride and gratitude surrounding this record, and I can’t wait for everyone to experience it for the first time. I think it’s truly special.”
ULTRA TRACK LISTING:
“I Am Above”
“Where Heavens Collide”
“By Your Love”
“Miracle Of The Moon”
“N.U.M.B. (Neutralize Under Maternal Bond)”
“Did You Ever Notice I Was Gone”
Vatican are currently on tour. All dates are below.
VATICAN ON TOUR:
6/15 — The Crafthouse Stage & Grill — Pittsburgh, PA
6/16 — Skullys Music Diner — Columbus, OH
6/17 — Beachland Ballroom — Cleveland, OH
6/18 — The Shelter — Detroit, MI
6/19 — Bottom Lounge — Chicago, IL
6/21 — The Annex — Madison, WI
6/22 — Cabooze — Minneapolis, MN
6/23 — Reverb Lounge — Omaha, NE
6/24 — xBk Live — Des Moines, IA
6/25 — Red Flag — St. Louis, MO
6/26 — recordBar — Kansas City, MO
6/29 — Marquis Theater — Denver, CO
6/30 — The Complex — Salt Lake City, UT
7/01 — 24 Oxford — Las Vegas, NV
7/2 — Whisky A Go Go — West Hollywood, CA
Tom Lovejoy — Guitar
Jonathan Mackey — Bass
Nolan Mobley — Guitar
Josian Soto-Ramos — Drums
Mike Sugars — Vocals
ABOUT VATICAN + ULTRA:
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 a new energy, as well 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.