The ever-interesting musical palette (and palate) of I, Voidhanger Records will become even more distinctively varied on April 7th when the label releases Siren To Blight, the debut album from the NY/NJ avant-garde death metal band Asystole.
The band features the talents of guitarist extraordinaire Pat Hawkins (Thaetas, Aberrated, Needlepusher, Kyrios) and bass virtuoso Kyle Linderman, as well as drummer James Applegate (Windfaerer, Replicant) and vocalist John Dunn IV (Abominism, Dark Waters End).
With a line-up like that, and knowing that they’ve drawn upon the disparate influences of such bands as Gorguts, Virus, Krallice, Cryptopsy, and Anata, you might venture a guess that the album is going to have its fair share of technical razzle-dazzle and a kind of head-spinning adventurousness in the song-writing, and that would be a good guess. But some other things you might not guess, and you’ll see what we mean when you listen to “Blanketed In Flies“, the album’s opening track that we’re premiering today.
The song is undeniably head-spinning — packed to the brim with relentless and unpredictable instrumental twists and turns. Thanks to a well-balanced and vivid production, you can pick out all the maniacal contortions and convulsions in the multi-layered guitar work, all the frantic yet nimble bass-guitar maneuvers, and all the jaw-dropping drum acrobatics — though you’ll need multiple spins through the song to fully grasp what everyone is doing.
It’s the kind of spectacle that leaves the mind spinning in wonder by the end. That “what the fuck just happened?!?” effect derives as much from understanding that somehow all those moving parts hold together as from the sheer outlandishness of the instrumental intricacy.
But what also comes through is a kind of deranged ferocity, which derives in part from the disorienting dissonance and squealing discordance that floods through all the lunatic fretwork maneuvers, in part from the skull-busting nature of some of the maniacal percussive convulsions, and in part from the horrid nature of the bestial barking gutturals and bizarre screams. In other words, there’s as much marauding madness in the music as other-dimensional progginess.
At least in these quarters, there’s also something quickly (and perhaps paradoxically) addictive about this born-from-an-asylum music — a need to hear more. If you’re feeling the same way, you’ll be happy to know that there’s another song from Siren To Blight that’s out in the world. That one, “Sophist Paralysis“, is roughly a minute and a half longer than the one you just heard — which means that these mad scientists have more room to experiment, and to mess with your mind.
There are even more sudden switch-ups in tempos and rhythmic patterns, even more divergences in mood (including feelings of hideous menace, feeding-frenzy viciousness, and soul-splintering fear), and doses of thuggish, pounding brutality.
You can’t make out many of the words in these songs, but we’ll pass on what we’ve been told about the lyrical themes — that they “are curiously reflective and almost philosophical in portraying the illusion of goodness in humanity, particularly the struggle of man to achieve true goodness only to suffer or cause suffering in trying”.
The album was mixed and mastered by Colin Marston. Vocals were recorded by Ian Wright, and drums were tracked by Ben Karas at Frightbox Recording. The absolutely stunning (and absolutely horrific) cover art is the work of Francesco Gemelli.
I, Voidhanger will release the album in a 12″ LP vinyl edition (black and transparent orange variants) in a gatefold sleeve, which includes a digital download, as well as in a digipack CD format, and digitally. Pre-orders are available now:
EU store: metalodyssey.8merch.com
US store: metalodyssey.8merch.us