Saturday, May 25, 2013

Consummation- Consummation(2012)

Consummation- Consummation

As if the Australian Death and Black Metal scene was not strong enough, loaded with a veritable All-Pro group of musicians and bands, here comes the mysterious and slithering mass known as Consummation with their brilliant, haunting and dissonant s/t debut.  Featuring a pair of mighty Satanic hymns for truly unclean worship of old spirits whose names cannot be uttered, Consummation is one of those brilliant little releases that despite it's minuscule running time delivers more than many full-length albums.  Everything here works, from the song writing to the musicianship to the production, making Consummation a little masterpiece whose value is diminished only by it's format.

"Heautontimoroumenos" shows off the strongest elements of Consummation's sound right off the bat: hazy, dissonant and mildly technical riffing, thundering and massive drums, earth shattering low end and vicious, tortured vocals which run the gauntlet of shrieks, guttural growls and deathly moans.  Consummation has a sound firmly rooted in the Australian Black/Death style, but flourishes of other influences shine through from time to time, whether it's the squirming and swimming dissonant leads and "pulpit preaching" vocal patterns that bring to mind later Funeral Mist or the Celtic Frost like moments of Doom-laden, percussion driven madness, and all of these elements are present on "Heautontimoroumenos";  The thundering percussion in particular reminds me of the Celtic Frost song "Dawn of Meggido" from To Mega Therion.  A better combination of spine-tingling solos and sheer face melting blackness you will not find, and this track without question the stronger of the two.

"Rend the Ain Soph" has a very strong Orthodox Black Metal vibe to it, featuring a near impenetrable wall of dissonant fuzz and unholy vocal assaults.  The drumming here is phenomenal, absolutely leveling the listener with power and control.  I wouldn't be surprised if many a drum head needed replacing, because each strike of the snare or tom feels like a battering ram demolishing a castle gate.  Everything works in brilliant conjunction to create a dense, foggy atmosphere; a ritual of burning flesh in a desiccated cathedral where nothing holy remains.  "Rend the Ain Soph" isn't quite as catchy or as head-bangingly brutal as "Heautontimoroumenos," but you'll still feel as though you bathed in blood and goat urine by the time it ends.

Consummation doesn't really have enough meat on it to truly transcend into classic territory, but the quality of the limited quantity cannot be denied.  Finding a way to stand out in the Australian Black/Death Metal scene is no easy task, but Consummation stands as one of the more impressive debuts I've heard.  It's serpentine song-structures, effortless atmosphere and commanding, unique sound is refreshing and highly enjoyable, and makes this a demo well worth your time and money.

Rating: 8.5/10

Check The Effect- The Instant Queue Challenge

So my younger brother has his new blog, The Effect, the new version of his old blog The Polibus Effect, and The Great Netflix Instant Queue Challenge is underway.  I'll be writing film reviews for the Challenge, so be sure to check it out and see what's going down.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Knelt Rote- Trespass(2012)

Knelt Rote- Tresspass

Few albums are as relentlessly, appallingly heavy as Trespass, the third album from Portland, Oregon spine snappers Knelt Rote.  A group I'm not intimately familiar with, Knelt Rote apparently started as a Noisegrind side project for a group of well traveled Oregon musicians before metamorphosing into a new, equally savage and noisy though far less avant-garde beast.  With Incantation worship having been all the rage for many years(though this seems to have begun to die down slightly), Knelt Rote have found a far more creative and chaotic way to emulate them: by mixing in and equal amount of blistering Grindcore into the tremolo-and-Doom formula of the Old New Yorkers.  It's certainly an interesting concept, and one that surprisingly works despite what appears to be an oil-and-water mixture.

Perhaps the strongest aspect of Trespass is that Knelt Rote find a way to, for the most part, organically mix the two disparate styles without having songs fall into that "this part sounds like A band, this part sounds like B band" formula so many bands use.  It's always impressive when an artist can instead create a synthesis, combing the essence of both styles into a single uniform approach, and throughout Trespass we see this unholy matrimony in full effect.  The final track, "Catalepsy," is without question the strongest example of this union and the strongest track on the record, a dissonant and blasting track which mixes unholy Blackened riffs with relentless drumming, driving tempo and disjointed, demonic vocals to create that wondrous swirling effect that Incantation so completely mastered while moving at speeds far more reminiscent of Napalm Death or early Carcass.  "Hunger" has a more Grind focused approach, bringing some Pig Destroyer-esque chaos and mildly technical riffing before transforming into another driving, Blackened nightmare.  I was somewhat surprised by the complexities on display here, and like many of their peers such as Adversarial and Muknal, there is some subdued but tangible technical flourishes throughout Trespass which offer a nice contrast to the musty and murky invocations and sledgehammer blasting.

Just don't expect a ton of variety or a consistent atmosphere with Trespass.  Though certain tracks stand out over others, there isn't a great deal here to differentiate the individual tracks from one another, and at times Trespass develops a droning quality that clashes with the chaotic and static-riddle madness.  It's an album which can work you into a lull of concentration without ever finding a way to hook you back in, yet the loud snare often grinds against the backdrop of the coiling riffs and creates a somewhat disjointed contrast.  And all this relentless brutality can at times eviscerate the strongest elements of the record: the atmosphere.  Incantation did not become one of the greatest Death Metal bands, or one of the most influential, by being the most brutal or relentless band.  They did it by creating an atmosphere which truly evoked a dream-like state of demonic possession, one where bathing in the madness and the nightmares made you feel the music on a different level.  With all of it's fury and fire, Trespass can force you in and out of this trance in a jarring way.

Still, it's hard to find much overwhelming fault with Trespass.  The sheer fact that Knelt Rote have discovered a creative and original way to take use those Incantation elements that doesn't fit into either banal worship or occult naval-gazing is worthy of praise if nothing else.  You simply won't find another album which sounds exactly like Trespass, and it's an album of excessive extremes and suffocating barbarity that will not suffer survivors.  If you take this album head on, be ready to search the dirt for your teeth.

Rating: 8/10