This has been a very full day at the site, but I wanted to add one more post about the last two pieces of music I heard this morning. They pulled me in two very, very different directions, but they each made an emotional connection. And since blogs exist so that extroverted personalities never have to keep anything to themselves, I’m sharing.
Without ever hearing the music, there have been powerful reasons to believe that Lumbar’s first (and maybe last) album — The First and Last Days of Unwelcome — was going to be very heavy. As you’ll know if you read our interview of the band’s founder and instrumentalist Aaron Edge, the songs were written as he was being afflicted by the pain of what would ultimately be diagnosed as multiple sclerosis, and the lyrics were written after he had spent 40 days bed-ridden with the disease, as he was beginning to come to terms with what had happened to him. I still find his description of the music evocative and gripping:
“Imagine three people, a small band or tribe. A storm is coming and it forces the small party into the ground, into caves. The spaces are small, cramped and dark. As the three huddle together, they hear/feel the approaching roll of nature’s foul breath, as it tears trees up from their roots, pushing huge boulders from their resting spots and dumping rain across the land. The tribe, without light and much hope, shudder. Feet stomp in panic. Teeth chatter. The wind howls, the rain becomes rivers and starts to fill up every hole in the earth. Air is thin. Breathing becomes harder, labored and louder. All these sounds and rhythms, the shared feelings of both paranoia and claustrophobia, the fear smelled in the sweat of these three… that’s what Lumbar sounds like.”
At the time of that interview I hadn’t heard any of the music, but today brought the The Obelisk’s premiere of the album’s first advance track — “Day Six” — along with another interview of Edge as well as one of the band’s three vocalists, Mike Scheidt (of YOB fame). Both interviews are well worth reading, though my focus now is on “Day Six”.
“Heavy” turns out not to be the right word — it’s an understatement. The slow, super-corroded chords exude a suffocating, oppressive atmosphere of doom, and there’s so much passion and power in the soaring vocals — they come across as a kind of searing anguish fighting against the crushing weight of a fearsome catastrophe. Together, they make for a riveting piece of music.
The First and Last Days of Unwelcome will be released on LP and digital through Southern Lord on Nov. 26, with CD to follow from the band and a cassette through Holy Mountain. The band’s Facebook page is at this location. Now go to The Obelisk and listen to “Six Days” for yourself.
UPDATE! There is now a Bandcamp page for this album where it can be pre-ordered. Plus, we can now stream the new track right here:
THE BINARY CODE
The next music I heard after that Lumbar track was something named “Antematter” by The Binary Code. I use the word “something” advisedly, because the band describe it as “some working material that was strictly recorded as pre-production for the sake of testing gear and jamming some riffs, as much as we’d like to call it a song!” The Binary Code do have a new album in the works (we previously featured a pre-production track from it here), but “Antematter” represents early, instrumental-only steps for music that will come after the new album.
I first listened to “Antematter” via a Soundcloud stream, and it made quite an impact. But then I learned that the band had also uploaded a YouTube clip of the track, beautifully paired with imagery from the Tree of Life. Both the song’s jolting, stop-start rhythms and its shimmering lead guitar melodies, especially when combined with the visuals, convey a dynamic sensation of life surviving, evolving, flowering. It has an uplifting quality that, at least to this listener, made for a striking contrast with that Lumbar track. Watch and listen below.