If you think of the eight tracks on the new album by Australia’s Norse as pieces in a subterranean nightmare museum shrouded in gleaming black cloth, Transcending Obscurity Records has been pulling the shrouds away, one by one, to disclose what lies beneath. Four of these terrifying obsidian sculptures have been revealed so far. Today we’ve been allowed to expose a fifth one.
Well, that metaphor only works to a limited extent, because the eight tracks on Ascetic aren’t fixed in place like sculptures. They move in strange and frightening ways, morphing like a viscous metallic liquid that’s freezing to the touch. The music writhes and contorts, twisting in unexpected but relentlessly frightening ways. Even when the band use ambient and symphonic textures to create mysterious and mesmerizing visions, as they do most prominently in “Fearless Fifth Seeker”, there’s a feeling of alien menace lurking within those sonic astral planes.