Bolt Gun is a damn cool name for a metal band even if you don’t comprehend the specific reference. If you do know what an actual bolt gun is, that puts a meaner edge on the linguistic knife, and might even make the reference revolting to some, yet even the idea of being stunned prior to being slaughtered (at least musically) is a concept that for a metal listener can be very enticing.
Whether these Australians who chose the name for themselves pull off that feat in their music is a question they’ve had the chance to answer through several long-form releases. We will have another fulsome opportunity to make that decision when Avantgarde Music releases their third album The Tower in September of this year.
But we have an excellent opportunity today through our premiere of an EP named The Warren, which features the legend Iggor Cavalera on drums, that the same label will release this coming Friday, July 14th, as a precursor to the new album.
Lyrically, The Warren pays homage to Brian Evenson’s novella of the same name, described as “a surrealist nightmare of claustrophobia and annihilation”. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the nature of the literature that inspired it, it was recorded by all the artists during their respective pandemic lockdowns. In a nutshell, through its inventive amalgam of post-metal and black metal it does what a bolt gun does — stuns and slaughters — but you’ll see that it does other things too.
Though a single track, it’s divided into two pieces as displayed on the Bandcamp stream you’ll find below. In the first part, the music methodically pounds and flares in waves of distressing sonic brilliance while a voice screams in seeming torment. Matched with a heavy, heaving bass, the whirring strings create a vast soundscape that’s both wondrously glittering and oppressively bleak, a place where confusion, agony, and hallucination all dwell. And yes, it is stunning.
Frightening roars with a serrated edge rise up, and then the slaughtering begins — drums blasting and hammering in a fury, guitars convulsing in fire-bright fevers, the bass generating a subterranean earthquake. It’s enough to take your breath away… and so you might welcome the largely ambient interlude that follows that violent upheaval, but you’ll find that it’s disturbing too, in a more mysterious way.
That haunting interlude flows into the second part of the Bandcamp stream, and the sound of classical strings and deep droning join in, creating moods of sorrow and longing. Riotous drum progressions, increasingly frenzied bowing tones, and searing sonic tides dial up the intensity again, as a prelude to a head-hooking rhythmic march surrounded by sizzling guitar reverberations and those harrowing screams.
The rhythm section’s repeating grooves in that final phase (accented by Cavalera‘s athletic fills) are damned potent, and as the surrounding sounds sore into a fiery boil, they steal the breath away again (and with eyes wide, you might forget to blink).
The Warren was recorded in Australia at Bad God Motel; Studio Sleepwalkers Dread; and Iggor Cavalera Studio. It was mixed by Ron Pollard at Studio Sleepwalkers Dread, and was mastered by Jon Vayla at Bad God Motel. It’s completed by the cover art of Tomasz Winiarski.
As mentioned, Avantgarde Music will release The Warren this Friday in digital form, but a forthcoming 7″ vinyl edition is also available for order now.
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