Four tracks, ranging from the five and a half minute mark, all the way to over twelve minutes. A logo that’s incredibly illegible, white on black with a noose motif hanging on it. Released on Hellthrasher Productions. Can you imagine what it sounds like yet?
Actually, you probably can’t, and by Jove, that’s a good thing. Grounded in doom metal it may be, but this album is more than some lazy genre piece. I’m somehow put in mind of Winter, put as experienced by putting that band through sleep deprivation through a non-stop soundtrack of Eyehategod and Darkthrone and blinking fluorescent lights. Droning, crashing riffs smash with the regularity of overswelling waves, bursting with the froth of bass work and cymbals. The echoey, shrieked vocals have a hellish quality to them, while the guitars work their be-doomed magic, bringing to mind the particular Belgian doom of the early 2000’s instantly to mind.
It’s not an easy listen, by any means, but then I wouldn’t think that this would have been on the agenda of the Portland crew at the time they were writing this release. On the contrary, it’s a challenging and deliberately unlovable piece of work that really doesn’t essentially care what you think of it. As a mash of several genres – death, black and doom are all represented to some extent here – it’s rather more than the sum of its parts. When I spoke of Eyehategod earlier, it was really in reference to the atmosphere that’s present; dense, oppressive, deranged and all so confrontational.
In terms of the production – well, this is a sludge-laden and murky affair, with little in the way of cheer or brightness. It has a certain cavernous appeal, and while it has plenty in the way of textured sounds, there’s nothing here that you would call sophisticated. That’s rather the point though.
A good, if brief foray into true unpleasantness. It’s a great listen, but you’ll probably feel like showering after it.
(7/10 Chris Davison)