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Beneath Oblivion

From Man to Dust

(The Mylene Sheath; US: 8 Nov 2011; UK: 14 Nov 2011)

Featherweight metal fans look away now.

From Man to Dust is the sophomore release from sludgy doom purveyors Beneath Oblivion. At well over an hour long, the band’s anguished funereal dirges might test the patience of featherweight metal fans—first track “Intro” passes the seven minute mark—but if you’ve got the tenacity and fortitude to hang on in, there are ample rewards to be found.

A quagmire of viscous, punishing riffs, From Man to Dust oozes wrath and hopelessness. With a reverential nod to doom’s progenitors, combined with the tweaked-out negativity of New Orleans’ finest sludge outfits, Beneath Oblivion concentrates on evoking hellish atmospherics. “Be My Destroyer”, with its tamer, ominous beginning mutates into some truly chthonic brutishness. Crawling riffs of feedback, a churning bottom end, and screeched vocals are put to great use on “The Atomic Mother”, “Barren Earth” and “Concussion of the Hearth & Mind”, but the album’s finest moments lie in the final threnody, “From Man to Dust”. At close to 20 minutes in length the track moves through fluctuating passages of furious noise and scouring effects to arrive at a summit of devastating cacophony.

Unquestionably asphyxiating, and definitely a test of one’s resolve, From Man to Dust is sadistic, corrupt and endlessly pitiless—everything great heavy metal should be.


Craig Hayes is based in Aotearoa New Zealand, and he is a contributing editor and columnist at PopMatters. Alongside his reviews and feature articles, Craig's monthly column, Ragnarök, traverses the metal spectrum. He is the co-author of PopMatters' regular metal round-up, Mixtarum Metallum, contributes to radio shows and numerous other sites, and he favours music that clangs, bangs, crashes, or drones. Craig can be found losing followers daily on twitter @sixnoises.

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