With an exquisite jacket that registers somewhere between Fredrik’s Trilogy and Chrome Jackson’s Chrome Forest, A Story Of Rats’ album art for Vastness and the Inverse stimulates the senses just as a record cover should, and the music behind the images is even better, betraying all sorts of familiar traits but never settling on an established genre. For example, there’s a lot of screaming/screeching/beseeching and general heaviness, but I’m not sure if I hear a guitar (if I do, it’s been heavily treated). Could this be the slowcore answer to Circle Of Ouroboros? Call it black drone-rock, post-doom, continental drift, or even dark cloak; regardless of the nametag you pin to its breast, Vastness and the Inverse is an exceedingly worthwhile investment, replete with black magic and the wizardry it requires to expand upon the post-metal strain Hydra Head bands abandoned half a decade ago. However, when it comes down to it, I’d connect A Story Of Rats to Bardo Pond, Religious Knives (particularly the Side B entry, “Huldufólk”) and Jennifer Gentle’s instrumental psych LPs as quickly as I would any group affiliated with HH. This is a true hybrid, though the soul behind it is purebred. If this record were a Kinko’s card, you’d pre-load it with 300 copies, ya dig?