Mar 272016

Rearview Mirror


Asunder made their home in Northern California’s Bay Area, with a line-up that included drummer/vocalist Dino Sommese (Noothgrush) and guitarist/vocalist John Gossard (Dispirit, ex-Weakling). Between 2000 and 2009, when the group disbanded, they released splits with Like Flies on Flesh and Graves At Sea, as well as two highly regarded albums — A Clarion Call (2004) and Works Will Come Undone (2006). The former included four tracks, each of them in the 12 – 15-minute range, and the latter consisted of two tracks totaling 73 minutes.

I discovered the band’s music only after they had ceased to exist. Of the two albums, my favorite is Clarion Call. It’s a wrenching, devastatingly powerful doom/death album, both titanically crushing and heart-achingly beautiful. The pacing is generally slow (though it’s still rhythmically dynamic), and the vocals are divided between a voracious, agonizing, bestial growl and clean, melodic, quasi-chanting. Despite the songs’ significant lengths and deliberate pacing, they are so well-written that they hold the attention all the way through — or at least until you get to the last track.


Asunder-A Clarion Call


Make no mistake, the music will drag you down like a necklace of anchor chains, but it’s also fascinating, with more twists and turns than you might be expecting — capable of caving in your skull one minute and putting you into a narcotic trance the next. Great riffs, great dismal guitar leads, a powerhouse rhythm section, and a bit of cello here and there. I’ll go out on a limb and say that few albums in the realms of funeral doom/death (at least that I’ve heard) have equalled it in the 12 years since its release.

The last track, by the way, is a bit of a letdown. When you’re hungering for one more monolithic experience akin to the first three, instead you get a stretch of silence followed by cold, ambient drone and the mechanical pulse of something like a piston.

For those with a chunk of time to devote to this enterprise, I’ve included a stream of the entire album below. And for those with less time, I’ve included a separate stream of the title track alone (which will beat the life out of you). Here’s the track list, should you choose to dive into the entire album:

1. Twilight Amaranthine (14:54)
2. Crown of Eyes (13:21)
3. A Clarion Call (12:02)
4. Untitled (11:58)




  1. I never heard the debut, only Works Will Come Undone. i wasn’t aware they were disbanded. Or I’d forgotten. Some weighty wretchedness, and I love that “drag you down like a necklace of anchor chains”.

    • Thank you sir! I do like “Works Will Come Undone”, too, but I feel that this one was superior, perhaps because it is somewhat more “accessible” than those two imposingly long tracks on the second album.

  2. This is some heavy stuff. Some of the soloing reminds me a lot of the explosive motifs Iommi would go for in his solos.

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