Vaz is mean. An outgrowth of the similarly mathematical and malevolent upper Midwest act Hammerhead, this duo has pulled corroded guitar lines through start-and-stop drums for a dozen years. Singer and guitarist Paul Erickson sounds forever irked, too, delivering frustrations in a tone somewhere between Steve Albini's cynical sneer and David Yow's unhinged yawp. After a long break in the middle of the last decade, they've returned with two consecutive blunderbusses, 2011's Chartreuse Bull and the recent Visiting Hours. Produced by Ben Greenberg of The Men, Hubble and ZS, the new material pushes Vaz's menace to new lengths and limits. With instrumental bursts that hit longer and harder and production that makes the band feel terrifically trapped, it sounds as though Vaz is trying to fight their way out of a locked, padded room—paranoid, addled and awesome.
—Grayson Haver Currin