Posted by Nick Skog on Monday, November 19, 2012 Under: Album Reviews
From: Sonic Abuse Webzine
Published: November 18, 2012
Published: November 18, 2012
Some records are just naturally immersive. Examples, from across a range of genres, might include Pink Floyd’s seminal ‘Wish you were here’, Tool’s ‘lateralus’ or the recently reviewed Old Corpse Road album ‘Tis witching hour…’ All of these records draw the listener in and encourage you to enter a reverie as the music washes over you. Passages and even songs that might, in passing or in isolation, appear to be meandering or formless, when taken as part of a larger journey become life altering moments and albums such as these are to be considered rare occurrences to be embraced and shared with like-minded souls.
Subterranean Disposition, on this self-titled effort, offer one such album. An immense, immersive experience that ranges far and wide across musical and atmospheric soundscapes, the five tracks on offer here take the listener on a seemingly boundless voyage of discovery that shifts and alters every time you sit down to listen to it. As much a gateway to the threshold of perception as an album, this intense, imaginative record is not something that you would listen to often, perhaps, but it is a record that will sit quietly within your collection just waiting to transport you to an alternate universe when the need arises.
The album opens with ‘between apes and angels’, the shimmering music initially awash with distorted animal sounds that veer between the hallucinatory and the disquieting. The music, meanwhile, is a mix of bone dry death metal, scorched, hypnotic doom and the endlessly unnerving bad-trip psychedelic rush of latter-day Swans. Harmonised guitars form twisted shapes in the sky, the vocals shift between an eerie Aaron Stainthorpe drawl and a deathly grunt and the drums operate on a less-is-more basis, providing a solid backbone for the song’s wildly shifting structures without drawing the attention away from the multi-faceted vocal explorations which recall nothing so much as Australian technical death outfit The Alchemist. ‘Prolong the agony’ is a softer work that drifts into beautifully ethereal territory thanks to Phoebe Pinnock’s stunningly whimsical vocal contribution that recalls the twisted majesty of Jarboe on her solo work. There is plenty going on musically too, particularly as the guitars slowly wrap themselves around one another like the cannibal flowers from Pink Floyd’s ‘the wall’, beauty turning in upon itself to become death before the music is stripped down to its core to drift in ambient waters, lulling the listener with its soothing warmth before starting to churn and broil as the guitars return with a vengeance for the final section of the song. It’s difficult… impossible really to describe adequately, so complex and varied is the approach, but the result is a mesmerising assault on the senses that soothes and scars in equal measure.
Having been drawn to the heart of the album, listeners will find themselves trapped within the industrial hell of ‘Seven sisters of sleep’ which draws upon the coruscating power of Swans for a track that stuns, disorientates and, finally, crushes the listener with its juddering, mechanistic percussion and ravaged guitars. It’s doom, but not from this dimension, the hypnotic guitars weaving a silken thread of despair around the listener as the vocals slowly suck the oxygen out of the room. Then, just as hope has been extinguished, ‘the most subtle of storms’ arrives as a glimmer of light. Various vocal effects and intonations are applied over the course of the song’s winding path, giving it a vaguely progressive feel somewhere between Gojira and Ulver – particularly when D’arcy Molan unveils the seductive sound of the saxophone – and the track fades out amidst the sound of lapping water. It’s a surging, epic, beautiful piece of work, as is the entire album, and it is a remarkable experience to allow oneself to be drawn so completely into its wondrous soundscapes. The final track, ‘wailing my keen’ sees the return of Phoebe Pinnock as the band slip effortlessly into gorgeous post-rock territory for a final song that leaves you wanting to stay deep within the album for ever.
Music such as this defies categorisation, defies expectation and, in many ways, defies description. It is simply and unequivocally stunning on every level, the juxtaposition between dark and light occasionally threatens sensory overload as the band draw you ever deeper into their world. This isn’t music for metal fans or for rock fans or anything so compartmentalised: it is music for people who love great, intelligent, imaginative music and offers so much across a wide range of genres that it should be mandatory listening for anyone interested in the creative arts. A mind-blowing achievement it is impossible to recommend this enough.
In : Album Reviews
Tags: subterranean disposition melodic doom-metal experimental death-doom terry vainoras the eternal cryptic darkness insomnius dei