Adrenaline surges through you as you approach the entrance, the echo of three stories of steps still resounding in the stairwell. While aliens, demons, and other monstrosities fill the space you are about to enter, this isn’t some haunted house made in anticipation of the upcoming Halloween night. The location is Death’s Vault Gallery, and you’re eagerly entering their one-day-only Black Sabbath 2 exhibition.
Celebrating a full year of having the working studio space and gallery, owner Rich Montanari Jr delights his legion of collectors with a solo showcase for his art brand, Mutant Vinyl Hardcore. Following up last year’s debut outing for the location (read more here), the aptly titled Black Sabbath 2 bears the further designation Welcome to Death City, those four words featuring prominently on the silkscreened posters lining the entrance’s hallway.

The Unique Pieces of Black Sabbath 2

Featuring just shy of four dozen one-of-a-kind, hand-painted pieces by Montanari, nearly half of them were renditions of the one-eyed Ollie form, these mace-fisted giants towering over all the other pieces, their 13-inch height fully felt in the display. And with Montanari’s skilled hand having adorned them with such strikingly different color palettes and patternings, there was no risk of them lacking diversity or of the repitition of the form becoming visually boring. Similarly, dominating the fore space of the shelves, were a multitude of the skeletal and skull-covered DX Sludge Demon bodies, topped by a variety of the heads that Montanari has created for them over the years, including ones done in collaboration with Splurrt and Paulkaiju. And for a final touch of distinctiveness, the rows of DX Sludge Demon creations were occassionally interupted by a unique work using Zug the Troll or his phallic-headed evolution, Krod.

The Small Edition Pieces of Black Sabbath 2

Hanging underneath the selecton of one-of-a-kind works, Montanari offered unpainted copies of Zug the Troll, cast in gold vinyl infused with red flakes (limited to 10) and a marbled blue, white, and black vinyl (limited to 11), as well as Zug‘s two-faced evolution, the Plague Face Troll, cast in milky lavender vinyl with multi-colored flake infusions (limited to 9).

Arranged on the wall space next to the unique works’ shelving, there were unpainted two-pack sets featuring the gremlin- or imp-like Bernie with the dreaded Sludge Demon, the basis from which the DX Sludge Demon evolved. Cast in marbled blue, white, and black vinyl as well as white, blue, and clear yellow with red flakes, these were limited to 2 and 4 sets respectively. The Bernie design was further offered in two small editions that featured hand-painted detailing by Montanari, the Tri Marble Happy Bastard and the Red Devil versions, correspondingly limited to editions of 3 and 25.

Other Photos from Black Sabbath 2

Displayed on the reverse wall from the main exhibition, nestled between a Plague Face Troll and Krod the Troll in their laser-etched pine box packaging, were a pair of Mutant Vinyl Hardcore branded Vans shoes. Having made fifteen unique, one-off designs of similar sneakers available to pre-order during the exhibition, this served as a great display to exemplify the quality of these products. And, situated on a shelf next to them with a skull-shaped planter, Montanari had a selection of American Needle snapback hats with Mutant Vinyl Hardcore logos emblazoned on them.

Manny Daggers’ Tattooing at Black Sabbath 2

As a final treat for attendees, tattooist Manny Daggers provided ten lucky individuals a free-of-charge, Mutant Vinyl Hardcore-themed flash tattoo. Mainly depicting the heads of various creations from Montanari, each reimagined with traditional tattoo design flare, this presented a truly lasting momento of an already memorable exhibition for those that were fortuitous enough to be selected.
Black Sabbath 2: Welcome to Death City was a one-day only exhibition held on October 8th, 2017 at Death’s Vault Gallery’s physical location (315 Peck St., Building 5, Studio H, New Haven, CT 06512).

For more information on Mutant Vinyl Hardcore:
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