Label: Yamabushi Recordings
Sometimes, a record comes up on you, seemingly out of nowhere, and knocks you senseless. Relax In The Safety Of Your Own Delusions has done just that to me. It’s been almost three years since the last release by the UK’s Cease To Exist, but that time has evidently not been wasted. Relax… is a record of astronomical low-fi black metal, the kind that sounds as if it is tearing away at the wall between realities, letting the senselessness and chaos of whatever lies beyond seep through in to this world. Such an abstract description really is the only way to do this record justice; it is not so much heard as it is felt or experienced, both sonically and psychologically. Frankly, it makes almost every other band you can think of sound safe.
Clocking in at just under twenty minutes, this is a record that feels far weightier and full of ideas than the running time suggests. Effortlessly fusing elements of grind, death, and black metal in to a low-fi, savage assault, Cease To Exist batter the listener with the kind of music that cannot be ignored. It rarely sits still, restlessly changing tempos and emphasis, but never once losing a discordant, other-wordly feel – at times it brings to mind the idea of Portal with a considerable punk influence. Needless to say, it’s not for the feint of heart. Even those used to the darkness of extreme music will find this a challenging listen at times – the band do not make things easy for the listener, which is to their credit. And a large part of the thrill comes, initially, from seeing what route they will take you down next; and then, later on, from marveling at just what they have achieved, taking in the grotesque majesty of what they have presented you with.
Lyrically, things are every bit as bleak and beyond as could be hoped for. Far beyond the metal tropes of Satan and misanthropy, these are songs of hate and death on a cosmic and spiritual level, far greater in scope and scale than what most other bands would even consider. Not that you would necessarily know it from the vocals – a truly rabid display, they render the lyrics almost unintelligible, which suits the music perfectly. It’s hard to adequately express just how thrilling these songs are, especially during the more up-tempo moments, which display some superb drumming and guitar work; or how unsettling they can be when slowed down.
But overall, what is most impressive about Relax… is just how vicious and unsettling it comes across as. It’s the sort of record that feels more profound, as if it is more than just a collection of songs – that the band have tapped in to some primal, elemental force that is beyond mere music. And, as such, it absolutely deserves to be heard.
Relax In The Safety Of Your Own Delusions is available to stream and download from Bandcamp.