Faceless Burial – At the Foothills of Deliration (Dark Descent/Me Saco Un Ojo)
Where do you go after releasing an old-school death metal juggernaut as Faceless Burial did with 2020’s Speciation? Apparently, you end up directly At the Foothills of Deliration, where the rule book gets thrown out the window in yet another reconfiguration for the Melbourne trio. Foothills is a lunge from that previous pinnacle of OSDM brutality into waters of progressive, brutal, and technical death metal.
Rather than just borrowing elements from those subgenres and fusing them into a stable style, Faceless Burial concoct their own version of musical delirium. Here, rhythms, tempos, drum patterns, and riffs change from one moment to the other in a state of eternal fluctuation, accompanied by tormented growls and bass lines that sound like small tremors. Although this segue of styles and approaches can be overwhelming at times, it actually makes sense when pieced together, from the spiraling, mind-melting riffs of “Equipoise Recast” to the crumbling labyrinths of “Redivivus Through Vaticination”. Deep listening material. – Antonio Poscic
Forlesen – Black Terrain (I, Voidhanger)
Featuring members of Lotus Thief and Botanist it is only natural to expect that Forlesen is an act crossing boundaries. This expectation was of course fulfilled with the act’s debut Hierophant Violent, where Forlesen gathered elements across various genres to forge their long-form compositions. They now follow the same principle with Black Terrain, slowly crafting the atmospherics of their work with ambient and noise leanings. The opener and “Black Terrain” both exploit these influences, the latter particularly well with the noise backdrop against the sparse percussion. It also reinforces the dreamlike state that Forlesen are so infatuated by, making their doom motifs and post-metal passages even more impressive.
The foundation is set primarily in a doom setting. “Strega” sees this come in with a grand and melodic form, slowly building towards a spiritual manifestation. The latter half of the track, as the second part of “Harrowed Earth”, see this otherworldly take, serene vocals amidst minimal instrumentation. The manner in which Forlesen use the dynamics here is excellent, slowly morphing the slow doom pace into post-metallic aspirations, reminiscent of the more elusive moments of OM and Sleep, to then reach a slowcore peak with “Saturnine”.
Outbreaks still have their moments, the blackened spirit rising through the faster pacing in “Harrowed Earth”, driving more purpose and urgency to Black Terrain. All in all, a great specimen of contemporary extreme music, with enough experimentation and also a very methodical and at the same time laid back manner of songwriting exploration. – Spyros Stasis
Gevurah – Gehinnom (Profound Lore)
The Canadian black metal scene continues to deliver a wealth of high-quality acts. Amongst them Gevurah, who released their debut record Hallelujah! back in 2016. The duo of A.L. and X.B. subscribes to the orthodox vision of the genre, aptly moving between influences and across different scenes. Their sophomore record Gehinnom kicks off with some retro inspirations as the acoustic guitar of the title track sets the eerie tonality, bringing back memories of the Norwegian black metal scene. From there on, it is as polemic as it is bitter. The traditional black metal approach is relentless, a barrage of epic riffs and blastbeats appearing in “At the Orient of Eden”. At times they take the relentless approach of Aosoth, turning into a force of nature in “Towards the Shifting Sands”. Then, their savage imagery, in the likes of “Blood-Soaked Katabasis” moves them closer to the mystical aspirations and brutal qualities of Svartidaudi.
Still, there are two main pillars that define Gehinnom. On one hand, there is an epic perspective. One that is inherited down from the lineage of Bathory, but cloaked under a darkened veil. The chants of “Memento, Homo…” create this towering yet otherworldly manifestation, something that is revisited in the epic 13-minute-long closer “Gloria in Excelsis Deo, Et Ira Ad Homines in Terra”. Then, it is this eerie quality that slithers through the mists. In “At the Orient of Eden”, Gevurah employ a mid-pace approach with poisonous intentions. Here, they take on aspects across the orthodoxy of black metal, from the first offerings of Ofermod and Malign, all the way to the early fanaticism of Watain and a touch of the Mgla graphic touch on melody. So, although there is no necessarily new ground that Gevurah is breaking, they are still delivering a thrilling ride through the underground of black metal. – Spyros Stasis
Gillian Carter – Salvation Through Misery (Skeletal Lightning)
Gillian Carter is one of the most consistent acts in the screamo scene. Since their inception in the mid-2000s and the release of their debut record The Flood That Came After the Storm, they have not missed a beat. Now, they return in their angriest form with Salvation Through Misery, a work brewed in the isolation and mental exhaustion of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is exactly this anger and despair that “Life Is Hell, Hell Is Fucked” captures so well, this dead-end state while refusing to find another way to live. Noise and distortion collide, creating a void of brilliant colors that devours everything around it, as “Nothing Ahead Of Us” displays.
From there on, the 25 minutes of Salvation Through Misery are filled with angst and anguish. The intense brutality is not new, however, it has never sounded so urgent and so precise. The hardcore lineage shines in “The Pain of Being Way” and the breakdowns become relentless in “Forced in a World of Shit”. The metallic touch adds to the progression, flipping the tables in “Drowning in Poison”, but Gillian Carter don’t forget their most potent weapon. Within this sea of hostility moments of melody sprout, having an absolutely captivating effect in “The Pain of Being Awake” and “Crucified Upside Down”. They even become more oppressive when the pace drops, highlighting the full extent of the downtrodden state of reality in “Borrowed Time” and “Lake of Misery/Heart of Hatred”. The simple twists and the influence of reality see Gillian Carter augment their recipe, creating a record of our times with Salvation Through Misery. – Spyros Stasis
Persher – Man With the Magic Soap (Thrill Jockey)
Arthur Cayzer (Pariah) and Jamie Roberts (Blawan) are established artists in the experimental electronic scene. Yet, their adventurous spirits know no bounds when it comes to genres. Case in point Persher, finding the duo in an intersection between metal, hardcore, electronica, and psychedelia. In the beginning, it feels like Persher is toying with this idea, the title track arriving in a flamboyant manner. Total fuzz, punk, and noise rock combined over a repetitive, almost funny mantra. Yet, this strange approach leads the way to something much darker and sinister. Deep, death metal growls push through a well of distortion arise, and the trippy essence becomes more prominent.
Everything then changes, as Persher dive into an introspective manifestation. Tribal grooves appear in “Calf” with the animated noise still prevailing. This processional essence leads into further strange pathways with “World Sandwiches 2″, where big synthesizers take over. The same trance-inducing effect defines the cyclical progressions of “Face to Face Cloth” and “Mother Hen”. The sound design is just magnificent here, elevating the hardcore and metal structures. Over-the-top distortion makes “Tiny Teeth” that much nastier, while the descent into the doom/sludge abyss of “Patch of Wet Ground” brings to mind the terrifying works of the Body.
It’s an excellent combination of genres and scenes that Persher achieve with Man With The Magic Soap, managing to conform the live instrumentation to the electronic narrative. While there are a number of artists out there that have performed the same alchemical process, Persher stand out with their exuberance and boundlessness. – Spyros Stasis
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