Two years have passed since the debut of Genevieve’s scathing debut album Escapism, and in connection with its release we premiered not only one of the first singles but also the album as a whole, which our Austin Weber described as “an invitation of nightmares and horror into our world”, “pitch-black and haunting”, a display of “immense hatred and chaos”, but also a record laced with surprises and overall “quite striking and brilliant” in its unconventional strategies.
Two years on, and Grimoire Records is gearing up to release the second full-length by this Maryland collective. Entitled Regressionism, it’s set for detonation on Black Friday, November 24, and we again find ourselves in the fortunate position of presenting a first taste of the new music, in the form of a harrowing experimental track named “No For An Answer“.
Some things have changed, other things have not. In their arsenal of formidable instrumental weapons Genevieve have replaced the fretless electric guitar deployed on Escapism with a pair of 7-string axes to go along with a monster, double-tracked baritone guitar and a 5-string bass. What hasn’t changed is Genevieve’s unpredictable and idiosyncratic approach to composition — if anything, they’ve ventured even further out into the previously uncharted frontiers of a sonic landscape they’ve been mapping in their own heads, rather than following trails blazed by others. And they’ve found new monsters there.
Attempting to chart the rapidly veering and torturous path of even this one new song is a challenge. It’s a white-knuckle ride that repeatedly shoves the listener off-balance, and much of its intense fascination is to be found in the music’s riveting dynamism and kaleidoscopic tonal qualities. It’s also scary as hell.
Eerie, reverberating guitar notes are layered over a slow, rumbling drum rhythm, and then the drums go off in explosive bursts as the guitars transform into abrasive and discordant implements of torture. The vocals are also layered, a cacophony of roars and shrieks that are as disturbing as the instrumental assault on the senses — which become a hugely destructive war zone of thundering percussion, flesh-cutting chords, and increasingly unhinged vocal abominations.
Later still, as the rhythm guitar seethes and boils, another one comes in with a slow, grief-stricken melody, and then an even more haunting melody drifts above the scratch of a second guitar and bursts of clobbering force by the rhythm section. Somber clean vocals appear against the slow drive of a new rhythm, but they turn into anguished wails as the band explode in a final hurricane of unbridled violence and then vanish in the presence of incinerating vocal madness.
You won’t recover from this easily. I suspect you’ll also want to come back to it as soon as you can.
Grimoire’s Noel Mueller, who recorded, mixed, and mastered the album (with additional engineering and mixing by Genevieve’s Eric Rhodes) has said the album reminded him at times of Ephel Duath’s strange 2003 release The Painter’s Palette, and at other times Portal. It is indeed difficult to pin down as it draws together ingredients of black and death metal, harsh noise, and bleak but affecting melody.
Grimoire will release the album both digitally and on CD, and you can pre-order it now at the Bandcamp link below. It includes cover art by Eric Rhodes and “manipulation and layout” by Mr. Mueller.
Eric Rhodes: Bass VI, Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Cello
Keith Mathias: Acoustic and Electric Bass Guitars, Vocals
Mike Apicella: Acoustic and Electric Guitars
Matt Powel: Drums
Christian Wetmore: Electric Guitar
Additional Vocals on “Smoke” by Josh Boyer