The prolific one-man show known as Benighted In Sodom who has released about three-dozen demos, splits, EPs, and full-length albums since 2006 has yet another album in the works. The album doesn’t yet have a title or artwork, but Matron Thorn did have the wonderfully good taste to pick that painting at the top of this post by Zdzisław Beksiński to stand in for the album art in a YouTube clip released last night for a new song.
For those who may not be familiar with Thorn (who relocated to Portland, Oregon, last year), he is not only the sole member of Benighted In Sodom but also plays all instruments on the recordings of Ævangelist, which is a fantastic band I’ve featured frequently in past posts (they have their own new album — Omen Ex Simulacra — due for release later this month). In fact, it was through my interest in Ævangelist that I recently began following Benighted In Sodom.
The song that appeared last night — “Sometimes I Don’t Mind” — isn’t the first new Benighted song that has surfaced recently. Just a few days ago Thorn put another one on Soundcloud with the title “Even the Nice Things”. I’m not going to bother trying to compare these songs to Benighted’s previous output, mainly because I’m not that familiar with it but also because, based on what I’ve read, Thorn doesn’t seem to have ever been wedded to the same kind of music for very long. So let’s just take them as they come.
Both songs are long — in the 9-10 minute range. Both provide a steady drenching of melancholy. “Sometimes I Don’t Mind’ echoes with chiming, multi-layered guitar melody, moving between relatively subdued passages and bursts of grinding distortion that occasionally hint at the band’s black metal origins. The bass and drum tracks are really excellent, but the star of the show is what Thorn does with his guitar, mixing the playing techniques and effects in a way that’s thoroughly engrossing. It’s ghostly music, and supremely memorable.
“Even the Nice Things” has an air of wistfulness, longing, and loss. The lead guitar melody is established immediately, and then evolves and transforms as the song unfolds — and darkens. Once again, the drum and bass tracks are wonderful, and once again Thorn creates rich variety in the guitar parts and shrouds much of what happens in the song with a background layer of distortion and noise. Although long segments in the song rely on repetition of the musical motifs, they don’t become monotonous or dull.
I can’t tell if there are vocals in either song. At times a kind of high, caustic, wailing or shrieking noise can be heard in the background of the mix, but it could be electronic rather than human.
I’ve really been enjoying both of these pained but mesmerizing songs and hope you will, too.