Saturday, January 13, 2018

Plots And Pyres...

NEST - Metempsychosis (2018)

We last heard from NEST about two and a half years ago, with the release of their self-titled debut EP, which made a good impression with its stylish treatment of a blackened doom base.  After a follow-up EP in late 2016, NEST are back again to deliver their first LP, and with its half-hour or so of new songs, the Kentucky-based duo show that they're still in fine form when it comes to crafting concise assaults of weight-laden fury.  Instead of going the route of sheer blow-out screaming and thrashing, they put in the work to build carefully-developed melodies, letting listeners get attached to the tunes before smashing in with bolts of harsh violence, and keep that defiance of easy templates going the whole way.
While they've got a certain distance kept between themselves and rock-out vibes, they do have the ability to tap into those head-banging energies (check out the end section of “Gallows of Forever” for a demonstration).  Again, though, it's a work in contrasts; without the more serious majority of the music, those leaps into more traditional metal vibes wouldn't have the impact they do.  Similarly, their ratio adjustment between the doom and black metal takes them through a nice, wide range of effects and atmospheres, finding just as much room for deep grooves as they do for bone-rattle beatings, not to mention some good old feedback-soaked power drives.  Hell, I actually found myself throwing up the horns while listening (to “Divining by the Entrails of Sheep”, for the record) and I genuinely can't remember the last time a record provoked that response from me.  Even more impressive, they got the whole album recorded in just three days, with the songs' cohesion reflecting that feverish outpouring.
The time NEST have taken to put these songs together has been well-spent, no doubts there, and it's exciting to hear them stretching their style in so many different ways on their first full album.  As with their first EP, they pack in one song which dwarfs the others.  This time, it's penultimate track “Life's Grief” (embedded below), which rolls out to nearly ten minutes of powerful resonance, mixing its huge-sounding majesty with a deep-trenched coat of filthiness, capably covering the album's two extremes (plus the band's more experimental side) while also pounding out some heavy power.  If you're a fan of grisly doom and you're not sold by now, check the full album out once it drops, and let that take you the rest of the way.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Hesperian Death Horse, Odradek Room, The Sleer, Sunken, Trees


Saturday, January 06, 2018

Transmuted By Erosion...

Apostle of Solitude - From Gold to Ash (2018)

Returning three years after their last album, Apostle of Solitude have assembled forty-five minutes of new material for their fourth solo LP, due out February 23rd, working big riffs and heavy atmosphere to nice effect.  It's doom with some force behind it, and as the band moves along through the seven tracks, they balance the slabby bass-lines with emotive vocals, drums both thunderous and gentle, and some fierce guitar-work.  Almost all the songs break the 6-minute mark, so you get to hear the band build some big structures and give them thorough exploration, all the while using some lush production to bring out the finer details in the resonating chords.
The band also maintains a strong sense of character and consistent tone through the songs, without falling into monotonous drudgery or predictable tricks.  It's an album that really hits the feel of being conceived and executed in one fruitful go of it, while still fitting into the larger scope of the band's full catalog.  Closing out on the funereal “Grey Farewell”, the band shows that they've developed the important quality of restraint with their doom, letting sparseness and simplicity have their place without being buried under tons of fuzz or over-amped bass wallows.  By emphasizing the role of well-made melodies in the style, AoS give promise that there's more ideas yet to be shared from their group, and that they'll be given the time and growth they need to come out smashing.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Below, Earthshine, The Fateful Hour, Of Spire & Throne, Pilgrim