(Austin Weber reviews the forthcoming debut album by Singularity.)
By now, you’ve probably heard of Singularity here at No Clean Singing, either through the recent “Throne Of Thorns” song premiere we did recently, or my post regarding them last year. But if you haven’t heard them, now is your chance for redemption, because this band is incredible and worthy of your attention.
They are a self-described technical black metal act from Tempe, Arizona, and that genre tag certainly holds true, though within there blackened madness is a boatload of technical and melodically infused death metal.
Singularity are experts at fusing a malleable, shifting mixture of black metal and technical death metal together, to arrive at a new, previously unexplored horizon of majestic grimness. They are aided in their goal by a grandiose veneer of powerful orchestral key work, a characteristic present on all tracks, in a way somewhat akin to Fleshgod Apocalypse. Yet musically, they are a completely different group whose music is worlds apart; the orchestral sound just happens to be integrated and fuels the fervor of the tracks in a similar way.
The album kickstarts into warp speed with opener “A Withdrawal Of Salvation”, a track with which I was familiar already, as it was first showcased in their 2012 demo and coincidentally was the track that hooked me on their unique sound. It’s a wise choice for an opener, as this track rips and tears, and as Islander is fond of saying, it digs its hooks into you and doesn’t let go.
The band also allow another former demo track, “Utopian Flesh”, to shine brighter in a better-recorded light here on Singularity. Its choral- and piano-overlayed intro provides an immense launching pad for the song before it spirals into sheer catastrophic black metal. It includes one of the few parts on the album where the keys recede slightly in the mix, and it’s later broken up by a spurt of clean singing before it morphs into a death metal stomp powered by orchestral sirens to finish.
Of the many tracks I had not previously heard, several are already huge favorites of mine, whether because of their more solidly black metal leanings (“Monolith” and “Remnant Of Stellar Evolution”), their absurd ruthlessness and complexity (“Desert Planet” and “Spacetime Devourment” ), or their progressively minded extravagance (such as the intricate lashing contained within “The Descent”). Each song has an identifiably unique voice and structure, in spite of the common elements present in each.
Toward the end of the album, a pre-production track I had previously written about here at NCS, “The Ascension”, comes into play, also sounding fuller in a better-recorded light. Directly following it is the album closer, “The Resolution”. It begins with a spoken-word intro and then ignites into a merciless storm that is certainly worthy of being the finale for a rich and epic self-titled album.
The album sounds great, and it’s commendable how balanced everything fits in the mix. The guitars do not overpower and diminish the key work, and vice versa as well. Meanwhile, the drums find a nice spot without overpowering anything else, and the varied vocals are amazingly front-and-center as well.
Perhaps even more impressive that somehow the bass does not go unheard, even with so much else going on between the guitars and keys. It retains a punchy, audible low-end presence throughout, often doing more than merely following the guitar work. Even when the bass does follow the guitar, the guitar performance is so great that hearing those rhythms doubled up by the bass is a treat.
While the album would be mighty impressive as merely an intriguing combination of technical death metal and black metal ideas, the symphonic additions add so much more to the band’s identity. All these ingredients perfectly co-exist and thrive off each other’s weight in a way I have not heard before from a group with this type of sound. This is truly a defining and important self-titled album full of rewards that is adventurous and takes risks.
If your mind is in need of a good fucking, look no further, do not shy away, eargasms await. If you end up loving this and desire more, their Bandcamp contains the group’s prior demos. Some of those songs do not appear on this album, such as “Four”, a track I adore. Singularity’s demo tracks are of a higher quality than the finished album tracks of many bands; give them a spin if you find yourself addicted to this album, as I do.
*Singularity comes out on Tuesday, September 23rd.