(This is Part 4 of a now-five-part series by Austin Weber about noteworthy January releases and a few from the end of last year.)
Plasmodium – Entheognosis
There’s something about truly dark and disturbing metal that connects with me in a deep way, as it also does for an assortment of other odd individuals too. Trying to understand the reason for that is the more difficult part, but overall, I think it has something to do with finding some odd sense of peace in hearing sounds that reflect the bleakness and harshness of the world all around us.
Forming a cathartic energy which we can lose ourselves in, that’s exactly what the otherworldly music from Melbourne, Australia-based Plasmodium has to offer.
Their debut album, Entheognosis, dropped very recently, on December 29th, through Cimmerian Shade Recordings, but I suspect I’m not alone in missing out on it initially given its very late 2016 release.
Plasmodium play a very strange form of black/death, sort of like a more black-metal and less death-metal-focused Portal, married to an aesthetic that sounds almost like Ævangelist and Imperial Triumphant to me, rounded out by sparse doom-influenced elements, and loaded with strange psychedelic droning passages on every song.
Speaking of the “songs”, the opener, “Limbic Disassociation”, clocks in at a massive 21-minute run time, and the following three songs range between 10 and 15 minutes a piece. Like last year’s fantastic album from VIII, Plasmodium have the talent and know-how to create dense music that plays out in long form without ever losing the listener’s attention.
With each towering song, the band invite you into a world all their own, a hellish sonic adventure into the abyss, yet somehow it’s quite a fascinating journey in spite of, or maybe because of, how truly deranged and alien the music sounds.
Czar – Life Is No Way To Treat An Animal
Czar are a very strange band from Tacoma, Washington, I’ve been following for a few years. They play a highly experimental, verging on avant-garde, brand of mathcore grind fueled by occasional jazz inflected moments and melded to a wacky carnival-meets-cartoon feeling akin to Fantomas or fellow defunct Washington State math-noise warpers Hunab Ku, lacing frenetic short songs with bizarre keyboard blasts and strange abstract ideas.
Given that, it seems fitting that the band bill themselves as Progressive Noise Metal, because for a lot of people, I’m sure that’s how their newly released album, Life Is No Way To Treat An Animal, will sound.