France’s Aluk Todolo earned significant praise on the back of their debut seven-inch, so much so that they had no problem finding international distribution for their first full-length. Like the seven-inch, Descension is a thorough exploration of the crossroads between scratchy, arcane Krautrock and black metal noise. The opening “Obedience” starts with a dense but distant industrial atmosphere and drums that slowly pick up steam. Then something that sounds like a train runs the atmosphere over and continues to run it over for the remaining six minutes of the track, during which the layers of screaming whistles and the rackety drums remain basically unchanged. The following “Burial Ground” is a lot easier on the ears. There, a slacker drum pattern and bass progression solemnly support drifting fogs of whispering devils and a brutally tortured guitar that phases in and out of time for the entirety of its ten minutes. Granted, it sounds like they’ve got some good ideas for a minute or two, but they pad them out to ridiculous lengths and don’t end up really going anywhere with them. They need to learn the lessons of succinctness and/or progression, but it is their debut album, so time is on their side.
// Notes from the Road
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