Label: Church Road Records
Release Date: 25/02/2022
Country: United Kingdom
I had seen a lot of hype for this album, and I don’t just mean people mentioning it here and there, I mean people commenting things like “this is incredible” or “AOTY contender” whenever the album was being discussed. So it’s completely my fault for being stupid enough to take this long to get to this one.
From the opening moments of the album, I thought to myself “yeah okay I get it already”, as the band immediately set the tone for what I assumed would be the entire release. That tone is one of irresponsible levels of reverb and feedback, filthy sludge guitar tone, drawn out drone elements, raw vocals, crushingly heavy bass and pounding drum work. What I’m getting at here is that the album starts off HEAVY, like really goddamn heavy and proceeds to pummel and batter you both instrumentally and emotionally.
What I learned though is that the album in fact has three primary focuses, the first of which is definitely that of atmosphere, as the swampy, murky mire that is the opening track Matriarch drags the listener down into the depths below. Once there, things feel almost inescapable as wave after wave of crushing reverb and distortion wash over you, drowning out any sense of escape. The fact that the vocals on the track are so selectively used only add to this feeling, they aren’t there to break up the droning atmosphere nearly as often as would offer you regular respite.
When the second track rolls around you realise that the album’s second focus is to pummel the listener with raw aggression and high energy, yet to mix in just enough groove to keep things catchy and memorable. The second track on the album To the Sky is a perfect example of this and brings to mind early Mastodon albums but with even heavier elements and more aggression.
The third and final purpose is to offer more technical, airy offerings that feel like they site more on the post-metal or progressive side of metal, yet still retain plenty of groove based sludgy elements.
Tracks such as Halcyon Glit really offer a perfect example of this. Into the Sea is another example of this type of track but draws far more heavily on the album’s other two focuses with heavier more atmospheric elements and higher energy more aggressive elements throughout. Alternatively, Shame is a lighter, more minimalistic almost post-metal track that really lets the emotion in the instrumental work and the vocals shine through.
Overall this is an album that really does live up to all of the hype that it receives, so when you hear people singing its praises you had better believe them.
Listen to and order the album: