AN NCS EP PREMIERE (AND A REVIEW): THE WEIR — “DETACHED”
Slightly more than two years ago we had the pleasure of premiering a crushing track from Calmness of Resolve, the very impressive second album by The Weir from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. And now we’re helping spread the word about the band’s new EP, Detached, which is being released today on tape and as a digital download on Bandcamp.
Calmness of Resolve was a staggering experience, projecting panoramic vistas of blasted landscapes and dragging the listener into deep sinkholes of congealing tar, casting spells of forlorn and heart-aching beauty but also rolling like a massive tank attack, and sometimes bringing down the house (and its foundations) in cataclysms of soul-crushing destructiveness. It was (and is) a sludge/doom powerhouse that should not be missed.
But with Detached, The Weir seem to be even more whole-heartedly committed to methodically beating their listeners into a slurry of fractured bone and jellied organs. It’s as heavy and despairing as anything you’re likely to find in this bleak winter season.
Of the two tracks on the EP, “Weak With Rage” is the longer one. Glacially paced and just as cold, it evokes primeval terrors and demands the abandonment of all hope. The crushing, pile-driving weight of massive, heavily distorted, reverberating chords is amplified by the conjunction of brutal drum booms and cymbal smashes, while the oppressive aura of doom is magnified by ghastly, roaring vocals. A slow, moaning melody emerges, like the grievous rising and falling wail of a stricken leviathan, and it gradually becomes more anguished and piercing.
Mid-way through, the catastrophic smashing briefly relents, opening a door to a different kind of moaning guitar melody, just as hopeless but even more eerie, and it persists even after the band begin to crush and maul again, stomping like a destructive juggernaut. Peals of crazed guitar melody ring out in an expression of fear and desperation, and the pace slows even more, capturing a last groaning crawl into a deep trough where no light or life can survive.
The Weir are clearly a heartless crew, because the follow-on track, “Below the Surface“, brings no reprieve. Instead, at the outset you get 45 seconds of abrasive, shrieking feedback, merciless drum pounding, and tyrannical roaring. And then all the instruments lock in to a methodical, brutish, sledge-hammering, head-moving groove. A buzzing, wailing melody surfaces and then evolves over that relentless, apocalyptic bludgeoning, and from there the music mounts in intensity, with a wrenching, paranoiac guitar cacophony adding to the excruciating and horrifying sensation that everything is about to come to an end.
Detached is unquestionably an asphyxiating, bone-breaking soul-devouring experience, convincingly atmospheric but also compelling in a way that feels physical. It draws you in to a spellbinding nightmare world, even as it tears you down. Damned good stuff, and also just plain damned.
You can get it on Bandcamp, digitally and on tape: