Album: Vacuum γ-Noise Transition
Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories
Release Date: 05/02/2021
The band hail from Sion, Switzerland and formed back in 2013. They play an experimental blend of black, death and doom metal, blended with noise and industrial. As mentioned, this is their second full-length album and follows their 2017 release PhSPHR Entropy. The band is Asknt (everything) and Quasar (vocals). All engineering, mixing and mastering was done by DSKNT and the album art is courtesy of AntïGraphic.
Alright, so the first thought that comes to mind listening to track 1 Spin, is “what is going to happen to me”, the album immediately has a deep sense of suspense and ominous and brooding tone to it, crafted through expertly layered and composed textures. Then track 2 begins and immediately we are hit with harsh vocals, a flurry of dissonant riffs and a ceaseless barrage of drumming. The tension built to this and I hope you are ready for it because this is what the rest of the album is going to be, a ceaseless wall of sound that exudes tension.
The album is cold and machine-like and there is something almost dystopian about it. I think that it has to do with the fact that the band somehow manage to arrange completely dissonant music into structured repetitive patterns. There’s also something more menacing at play, a chaos that comes across as evil and not of this world. If you’ve ever seen the movie Event Horizon, I imagine that this album is what you would hear when the ship transports itself through what essentially seems like either hell or another dimension. The entire album brings to mind the phrase “order out of chaos”, because that’s exactly what the band give us on this album, hell this is phrase may as well be the album’s ethos.
The machine-like drumming almost doesn’t have the feeling of drums at all, it almost becomes simply a layer of sound that the rest of the music builds upon. The fact that it’s so relentless and constant makes it feel almost inescapable and a little bit suffocating. The guitar is also a constant barrage of riffs that follow no sense of rhythm or melody, but rather just lash at the listener ceaselessly. There are two layers going on here too, a downtuned heavy tone and a higher, crisper, more technical sounding tone that together form a thick and captivating blend. It’s only through the rigid and repetitive song structures that everything shapes up to be a linear journey of a track.
The vocals feel like listening to someone give an authoritarian speech, one of absolute conviction and absent of any compassion or remorse. I say a speech because the vocals are essentially spoken despite sitting halfway between black and death metal as far as vocal styles go. They rattle on throughout each track, commanding your attention, which is not easy for you as a listener to give due to the number of other factors pulling it in other directions. The inclusion of noise elements such as feedback and distortion throughout the album add a lot of additional tension and at times things become quite harsh and overwhelming.
Now that I’ve said what I have to say I’ll make some comparisons, as I don’t like to sway opinions early on by comparing bands to other bands if I can help it. Instrumentally the band reminds me of acts like Portal, in their chaotic and technical nature. However, they have the dark and evil atmosphere of bands like Deathspell Omega (who they share vocal styles with too) and Abyssal. I can also see elements of bands such as Teitanblood and Aosoth.
Overall, this album is unlike anything else you’ll listen to this week or maybe even this month. There’s something about it that really sets it apart from other albums of the same nature. I think it’s just how well the band blend dissonance and rigid structure and the sheer scale of the chaotic nature of the album. So, prepare yourself for a journey into another realm and give this bad boy a spin.
Listen to the pre-released tracks and order the album below:
Order the album: