Artist: Eternally Riverless
Album: Fragments of Contrivances
Label: Day One Records
Written by: Aaron Michael Kobes
Surfacing in the midst of the pandemic, when the entire world seemed to plummet into despondency, Fragments of Contrivances by Eternally Riverless seemed an emblematic snapshot of the times. However, as the intervening months and years have passed, the atmosphere of that despondency has continued to purvey, cutting a bitter picture, clear and crisp that has seeped into our very vernacular that would make any cynic/nihilist proud. To this end, Fragments of Contrivances seems more apt today than the near three short (or long depending on who you ask) years since it’s release; with a developed Blackened Atmosphere that is cleaner, but no less hopeless in its Depressive/Suicidal delivery than its lo-fi counterparts, Eternally Riverless will overtake in the measured and inexorable.
Comprised of just three songs- all of which are impressively written and played by Issara Panyang, with vocals by Pasawat Rueangsuksudthere, Fragments of Contrivances still does all the heavy lifting of a full release. Though this may be attributed to the length of each track clocking in at ten minutes or over, I would argue that it is the content that drives the feel of a full fledged release. There is a depth in range that occurs within each piece, as well as throughout the release itself while not compromising an aesthetic whole. A foggy gray film of despair lays over the entirety of the thing that acts as a sort of cohesive bonding agent, and recalls Xasthur’s early work, albeit a cleaner and more focused production. Additionally, there is an interesting aspect of restraint, despite the violence of the tracks, that is lacking in Xasthur’s work. While it may seem antithetical to a genre named after raw emotion and an act of violence that follows the emotion to show restraint; Eternally Riverless is anything but devoid of that raw emotive energy. One simply has to listen to Dead to Dream to understand, with its contemplative Dungeon Synth-sequel opening to its near Cascadian sonic scape that produces a power to drive and run opposite Pasawat Rueangsuksudthere’s organic and coarse vocality that is more akin to a coagulated blood pooling as it sludges out rather than they spurting high pressured zeal that is so quickly drained.
In the eyes of blood, the whole world
smells of rot,
the moaning of the corpse floating with
a cold wind
An emptiness, like a breath…
Further cultivating power in restraint is Eternally Riverless’ cultivation of atmosphere that turns this release sonorous. Using the titular track, Fragments of Contrivances, as an example, we can deconstruct more of how this atmosphere is achieved. From the first we are treated with a very simple solo guitar melody that is near tonally bland, a gradation of gray, creating a point of resonance with the rest of the track. Following is a choppy-bang in style chord progression, that cuts the simplicity, but not by much. These two in conjunction with each other starts to feel as if there is something lurking underneath, but there is just a heavy gloom that pervades, to the point of being able to tangibly feel the effort taken to eek out even the most base. Eventually, there is an injection of life with an uptick in tempo that is just this side of barely breathing by Black Metal standards which only adds to the weight of depressive sadness. These moments are brief however, with interludes and dial backs that make the listener feel as if the momentary outburst has depleted all reserves; which, in turn, makes subsequent outbursts feel more desperate and manic. The beauty, and bleakness lies in the progression and development of atmosphere, and rewards the patient listener with its increasing reflective desperation.
Be righteous by listening to Eternally Riverless on Bandcamp