AN NCS ALBUM PREMIERE (AND A REVIEW): JADE — “THE PACIFICATION OF DEATH”
Here in the U.S. today is Thanksgiving Day. For 13 years our site has made a point of observing no holidays, but instead continuing to focus without pause on the heavy music that inspires us. But on this holiday we can kill two birds with one stone — presenting music that kills, and being thankful, for the gem that is Jade.
To be clear, we are talking about a gem of a band, not the gemstone, though both share certain qualities, with a capacity to seize attention as the facets turn. And undeniably, the debut album of this part-German, part-Catalonian band provides music of many elaborate facets that’s altogether stunning. Entitled The Pacification of Death, it will be released tomorrow by Pulverised Records, but we’re providing a chance for everyone to hear it now.
Across the course of six tracks and nearly 40 minutes of time, the album is capable of drawing the listener down into obscure depths, banishing awareness of the mundane world surrounding us, and revealing harrowing visions and imposing terrors.
The album’s title track, which opens the record, makes this apparent all by itself. There, the drums hurtle and boom, ominous bass lines create heavy undercurrents, the riffing slashes and whirs with savage intent, and piercing leads and solos swirl, wail, and soar. The music creates sensations that are beleaguered and desperate, sinister and unearthly, defiant and grand. Like the gem, the song seizes attention and reveals splendors, yet it also feels crestfallen, and dangerous.
It’s an arresting way to begin the album, and one of its most spine-tingling features is the way in which vocalist J. suddenly elevates from ravenous growls to extravagant cries that echo from catacomb depths and reverberate in the skull.
Both in the title track and in the songs that follow, Jade join together genre ingredients in haunting and hostile ways, making death metal, doom, and black metal into kindred spirits. In each song, they create changing experiences, just as they do in the title track.
They kick a listener’s pulse into high gear with turbocharged percussive turbulence, boiling and abrasive riffing, malignant abyssal roars, and unhinged snarls and screams. They also create moods of hideous menace, strangling oppressiveness, helpless agony, and wretched pleading. The ringing guitar leads and solos are always startling when they spear and swirl out of the songs with piercing clarity, and sometimes they are simply heartbreaking to hear, manifesting an affliction of the soul.
But over and over again, Jade also create an atmosphere of wonder, rising to heights of blazing magnificence, propelled there by guitars that sound like sonic sorcery. And that’s another aspect of the music that must be underscored — it creates an aura of the mystical (as well as the malign). It seems that occult forces are often at work, providing sulfurous fuel and psychoactive vapors, all the better to create perilous and paralyzing spells, diseased miasmas, and the infliction of ruin with claws and teeth.
But again, the mystical and occult atmosphere of the music takes different shapes, and one of those is a feeling of towering glory, rocketing just as high as those eye-popping vocal rockets, and spectacularly sweeping across the skies in magical fire, with the soloing reaching stratospheric elevations. At those times, it’s not hard to imagine these songs being performed in enormous arenas before packed throngs with heads thrown back and arms reaching for the heavens. (Well, that’s probably too much to hope for, for a relatively unknown band like Jade in a world where justice is in short supply, but it’s a fond wish.)
We shouldn’t forget to mention that the music also packs a jolting punch on top of everything else, creating chances for listeners to get walloped and to pump their muscles and wreck their necks. The band also add more spice to the experience with surprising (and usually creepy) electronic finales.
To return to where we began, The Pacification of Death really is an extravagant gem. Pulverised Records recommends it for fans of Bölzer, Suffering Hour, The Ruins Of Beverast, and “Atmospheric Deathdoom”. We think you’ll find those are pretty effective comparisons. Now fall into these elaborate depths, and get lost in them:
We might have begun this write-up with some kind of observation about how well the extraordinary cover art clasps hands with the extraordinary music. It’s the work of the great Adam Burke.
Enormous credit should also be paid to the production of the sound, which renders all the facets so vividly and powerfully. And for that we applaud Javi Félez at Moontower Studios in Barcelona (Graveyard, Teitanblood, Foscor, etc), who recorded, mixed, and mastered the record.
As mentioned, the album will be released on November 25th — and of course you can (and should) pre-order it now.
Wow sick! I was waiting for this band to release something for.. (checks MA) 4 years!
I guess thats not that bad. Seems worth the wait! Love that cover too! Burke is a modern classic.