Convulsing – Perdurance

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With Perdurance, Brendan Sloan takes a unique approach to dissonant death metal working in progressive, jazzy and at times atmospheric elements. There’s an underlying melody in many parts that balances out the harshness and technical complexity of the album. Woven into this complex mixture are moments of respite that allow atmospheric beauty to shine through. Each track flows seamlessly from one jarring stylistic change to the next, which keeps the listener on their toes from start to finish. As far as I’m concerned this is Brendan’s magnum opus, at least for now and leaves me excited for what comes next.

Artist: Convulsing

Album: Perdurance

Label: Independent

Release Date: March 1, 2024

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Written by James Sweetlove

Australian solo project Convulsing made waves with its previous release Grievous, so naturally when I saw this album had been released I was excited to give it a listen. When I saw the simplistic minimalist album art I was initially a little concerned that a genre shift had occurred to something in the realm of post-metal. Fear not though, because this is top tier dissonant death metal, but not quite the way it was on previous releases.

With Perdurance, Brendan Sloan takes a unique approach to dissonant death metal working in progressive, jazzy and at times atmospheric elements. There’s an underlying melody in many parts that balances out the harshness and technical complexity of the album. Woven into this complex mixture are moments of respite that allow atmospheric beauty to shine through, often accompanied by cleaner, lighter instrumentation. There’s a balancing act at play here between harsh, dirty chaos and complex beauty and one that feels very natural, as it it was written effortlessly. Each track (and therefore the whole album) flows seamlessly from one jarring stylistic change to the next, which keeps the listener on their toes from start to finish but never feels forced or disjointed.

The two key elements that make the album so powerful for me are the guitars and the vocals, two things that Brendan Sloan has mastered over the years. With each consecutive release he does regardless of the project you can see a gradual increase in complexity, raw technical skill and songwriting ability. On this album Sloan presents us with incredibly complex riffage that ranges from OSDM in nature to technical death metal to dissonant death metal and even progressive metal. To accomplish this a large variety of different guitar tones and effects are employed, allowing a shift from a filthy crunch that sounds like its straight from 1990s Florida to crisp and clean sounding tones that bring to mind moments from The Faceless’ Autotheism or at times even something that Opeth would give us.

Vocally speaking the album has a powerful barked style that’s as raw as it is guttural. It works perfectly for this style of music because it has enough of a bite to really amplify the heavier, more abbrasive moments on the release but isn’t so overpowering that it drowns out the calmer, more melodic moments. It also sits at just the right level in the mix that it works as a focus point but doesn’t detract from the guitar work. I’ll also make a brief comment about the drums, that despite being programmed they don’t feel like it at all, if nobody told you, most people (maybe not drummers) would believe that this was done by a real drummer.

As far as favourite tracks go, there is one in particular that stood out to me, the 12 minute epic and closing track endurance. This song really takes the listener on a journey that reaches from atmospheric, almost calming instrumentation to crushing heaviness and raw aggression. Tying all of this together are those harsh vocals that remain the same between the harsh and lighter elements of the song. The track almost goes into melodic death doom territory at points, which adds some nice variety too.

Overall I’m a huge fan of this release and consider it to be a breath of fresh air in the disso-death scene, which in recent years has all come to emulate Ulcerate or PORTAL. Brendan Sloan continues to impress with each and every release and as far as I’m concerned this is his magnum opus, at least for now. If you want something with plenty of variety and complexity that allows for repeat listens, then this album is for you.




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