We’ wrote frequently and favorably about the music of the solo project Haustið (the work of one A. Enrique), which consisted of five demos released in 2018 and 2019. Haustið‘s creator has now prepared a new EP, Gods of the Gaps, although under a new name — Gateways — and today we’re presenting a premiere stream of its captivating title track in advance of the EP’s December 3 release date.
I learned about Haustið just before Thanksgiving Day in 2018, thanks to a recommendation from Rennie of starkweather, who vividly compared Haustið’s then-latest demo to “a cross of Emanation and Wolok on a suicide mission”. When I wrote about that demo, Howling, the Sol Above, Nothing Below, I described “a surreal quality to the music as it flows along its twisting course, with outbursts of dark, dissonant, thorny permutations interwoven with soulful, gliding, and sinuous instrumental passages, both moody and mystical, that sometimes partake of traditions other than extreme metal”.
The next Haustið recording, released in the spring of 2019, and also discussed here, was a two-track EP named Long Lost Ruins Cried their Black Soot. It was also a marvelously multifaceted experience, with both a “physically” powerful impact and a bitter and chilly atmosphere, delivering one changing experience after another.
By the autumn of that year Haustið had prepared a new EP named Basking In Reflected Glory, and it was our good fortune to premiere its tremendous title track, which I attempted to sum up as follows: “A genre hybrid that includes elements of black metal, post-metal, death metal, and doom, it’s emotionally powerful and completely immersive. Like all of Haustið‘s previous works, it’s also an interweaving of contrasts. At times it’s beguiling, like a moonlit reverie, but it’s also crushing in its heaviness and wrenching in its sorrow”.
And now we come to this new song by the re-named Gateways. Like many of the compositions released under the Haustið name, it’s a long track, and like many of A. Enrique‘s recordings under that now-replaced name, it’s a gem of many facets, one that brings into play ingredients of black, death, and prog metal.
Backed by neck-snapping drum rhythms, the opening riff creates a swath of heaving, distorted sound that carries a bleak mood. A shrill, quivering tone briefly meanders through the compulsive refrain accompanied by harsh growls that together seem to amplify the feeling of beleaguered torment in the music.
Without warning the drums and vocals vanish, replaced by soft strumming and ghostly warbling tones. Just as suddenly, the drums and bass return to generate a syncopated beat, and other ingredients are added, which create surrealistic sensations of haunting anguish. A fever grows in the music as it becomes rhythmically more propulsive (and head-hooking), and a wailing guitar solo creates a seductive spell. Another extended solo is just as gripping, and it leads the song back into a layering of guitars which create a mood that’s distraught and despairing — but still spellbinding.
The music continues to flow through crests and troughs, carrying the listeners away (with heads moving) in an enthralling but sorrowful dream.
At a later time I’ll have more to say about the EP as a whole, but can easily recommend it now.