Through a happy coincidence, I’m drowning in despair this morning. I have a collection of new tracks that I thought would be worthy of a Monday round-up, and most of it comes in varying flavors of doom.
Of course “doom” as a genre label doesn’t tell you very much because the genre has subdivided so many times over so many decades. As the title of this post suggests, you’ll find flavors of death/doom metal in this collection, but the title is meant to have a second meaning — a hint at the atmosphere to be found in the songs that are less closely connected to death metal. And as the title further suggests, I’ll have a Part 2 either later today or tomorrow.
When you watch the video for this first song you will see Xoresth’s music labeled as Funeral Doom. To be more precise, this is music for the funeral of all humankind, with no surviving soul left to mourn. As I hear it, it’s a vision of the future in which our planetary home has been burned to a cinder and then frozen in a heatless void. Not for naught, the name of the album is Vortex of Desolation.
It will take another 7 or 8 billion years for the sun to become a red giant, its outermost surface layers expanding so far that it absorbs Mercury, Venus, and Earth. If there is anything left in that zone which hasn’t been vaporized, a few billion more years will leave it adrift in the cold as the Sun collapses into a white dwarf.
Of course, no human will be alive to witness those events, but we can imagine them as we listen to the frightening strains of “Illusion Before the Matter.” The song establishes a collage of sound and then repeats it with only slight variations all the way to the end of this stream… and seemingly beyond. A tension-ratcheting whirr of seething chords and spectral ambient sound; bursts of maniacal and methodical drum munitions; among the most macabre vocal excretions you’ll ever hear; and light, xylophone-like pinging tones — all these sounds combine to create an apocalyptic scenario that is both disturbing and mesmerizing. It drones on… and on… and a chill sinks ever deeper into your bones.
Vortex of Desolation will be jointly released on July 22nd by Grimm Distribution (Belarus) and The Eastern Front (Israel).
UNTIL DEATH OVERTAKES ME
“Missing. What if the searchers falter, pass away? When none are left that hope to find even something to bury, to mourn. To be missing, to be never found. To never return, and fade away in the shadows of time. To become forgotten beyond all hope of recovery…. But tragedy grows, touches all, and the music becomes the soundtrack to the funeral of mankind. Empty tones drifting over the desolation, echoing through empty canyons. All the searchers have gone, all those missing are forgotten. There’s no one left to remember, there’s no hope left. And when the proof and all remembrance of our existence is gone too, then have we truly been here at all? We’re already missing.”
I imagined such a time when describing the music of Xoresth above, but the conceptual underpinnings of the new album by Until Death Overtakes Me are more explicitly linked to the extinction of existence in the words quoted above from the Bandcamp page from the record. The album’s name is Missing, and it’s the ninth full-length release by this Belgian project.
The song below, “To Never Return“, tops 15 minutes in length. It, too, like the first track in this collection, can be placed within the pigeon-hole of funeral doom, and here that label proves to be a more precise guide. Craggy, distorted chords and crashing drums slowly smash the anvil of your skull while the reverberations of a cathedral organ and bowed strings shimmer and swell, casting their ghost lights beneath the high black vault of a catacomb. There might be a roaring horror of a voice in the distance. The music moves downhill like a mile-thick ice sheet… very slowly… and very cold. It casts a long spell, and a deep one.
Missing will be released on July 30 by Dusktone.
As compared to the first two tracks in today’s post, “Ashen Ascetic” moves in a more animated fashion, and unmistakably strides the wasteland where death metal and doom intersect. At first the movement is mid-paced and earthquaking in its heaviness; and then turbulent and seething; and then ripping and rocking; and then lurching and staggering through a nightmare realm where madness reigns. The mood is gruesome throughout, thanks in part to the inhuman, roaring menace of the vocals, and in part to the putrescence of the melodies.
The Chthonic Rituals will be released by Memento Mori on July 23rd.
I tip my hat to DGR for pointing me to the recent demo by Sedation Therapy from Tacoma, Washington, which was released via Bandcamp on June 23rd. It consists of four tracks, well worth hearing from start to finish despite the fact that the Bandcamp stream picks the second track as the opening taste-test for new visitors.
The Intro track is a good stage-setter, starting you off slowly and then ramping up into a d-beat rumble before backing off again. It also previews the band’s deployment of neck-snapping drum work, toxic levels of guitar distortion, and cavernous vocal terrors. Over the following three tracks Sedation Therapy mix slow, brutish, soul-sundering death/doom crush-fests; rugged, rumbling, skull-plundering tank attacks; and eruptions of punk-like scampering, serial-killer slashing, and seething lunacy. In a word, this debut is outstanding.
If you’ve been following the direction of the music in this post from the beginning, you’ll have noticed that it has gradually become more animated, without becoming any more cheerful. Continuing to follow that trajectory, I decided to close with a track from a December 2017 album that I discovered not long ago. Entitled Consecrates, it’s the second full-length by a group from Fidenza, Italy, named Throne.
Lacking the time for even a truncated review but still anxious to spread the word about the album, I’ve picked “Codex Gigas” as a teaser for you. Unlike the vocals in almost everything else in this post, the voice here doesn’t sound like a mutated thing that just crawled from the sewers after eating all the alligators down there — there’s more pain and raw fury in its tones than monstrosity. But the lumbering weight of the track is monstrous, and also monstrously head-moving and body-shaking.
The guitar leads are captivating as well as queasy and psychedelic; the riffs and rhythms are magnetic — especially when the music kicks into true jackhammering mode; the squalling solo shivers the skin; and the whole affair is drenched in gloom and menace. It’s a fine amalgamation of sludge, doom, and stoner — and there’s more devastating goodness where this came from in Consecrates.