After being pleasantly stunned by the repeated bolt pistol to the head that their debut “I Am God Songs” delivered with its sub-Godflesh dirge riffing , this was a band that I trusted to come up with the heavy goods. The frisson of excitement for this new release was enhanced by one of the most striking cover artworks, the garish playfulness contrasted with the bleakest of titles.
So a complete wrong-footing on first listening where the opener of the first three 9 minute songs is a more acoustically based exercise, albeit with the same harrowing vocals raging over the top of it. The contrast of the anguish/passion and the more melancholy backing reminds me of some of Palehorse’s more brooding works, drawing you in and lulling you along.
Although they scream their apologies for doing this to us.
After a little looped higher pitched bridge between this and following song, the more familiar devastating heaviness kicks in. Except now they have possibly taken this to a new level and largely done away with the riff altogether, it is mainly a varying percussive rhythm punched out on one note, a filth-mired version of djent? This sparse construction may be too little/too much for some, but if you choose to it is an ordeal that we share with the band, and you start to wonder whether this is a piss-take if it wasn’t so horrifyingly real.
But as with other exponents of extremity there is pleasure to be had in putting yourself through this arduous pummelling. Faced with the prospect of the closing track being a 33 minute epic entitled “Metallica” (they share their Southern California origins, if not the sunny disposition their tourist adverts would have you believe is omnipresent) there’s a punchdrunk feeling resembling the latter rounds of some heavy weight boxing match, where it’s just a slugging away with no prospect of a satisfying conclusion.
Any time the riff dares to raise its head above the root note it is soon battered back down on to the bloody canvas of their grand leveling. True, there are occasional mellow interludes and looped and layered conversation samples offer little oases of respite, and there is a depth added with waves of noise and sonic experimentation in the mix, but when you reach the end with the message being screamed over and over at you there is a sense of sharing and surviving through this catharsis.
I have the stamina and the suicidal tendencies to enjoy it, in some way.
REVIEW BY: Mark
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