Even by the standards of extreme music, this split is pretty harrowing. Clawing blend dark ambient soundscapes with Matt Finney’s spoken word contributions, which – if you’re familiar with his work – you know means that you’re in for an emotionally heavy time. Offerbeest is one of the aliases of Maurice de Jong, perhaps best known for his work as Gnaw Their Tongues. His tracks here are no less devastating than those released under that well-known moniker, being filled with harsh noise and industrial oppression, conjured via analog synths. Hardly an enjoyable trip, then – but it’s not meant to be. Instead, it is a split that forces you to confront your demons, to face what is haunting you, throwing yourself into the nightmare and hoping to emerge on the other side.
One of the real joys of underground music is watching bands develop before our eyes, going from promising early releases to albums that more than live up to expectations. Such is the case with the latest album from Abstracter, Cinerous Incarnate. The band have evolved, building on their earlier sounds, bringing further elements of noise and dark ambient to their already soul-crushing fusion of doom, black, death, and crust. It makes Cinerous Incarnate an album of utter despair and world-ending heaviness, filled with the kind of riffs that can collapse buildings and an atmosphere of the most haunting, searing dread.
Black Kite Broadcasts might be one of the most interesting ideas for an album I’ve come across in some time. The second album from noise rock band Qoheleth isn’t actually by the band – instead, it’s a captured recording from a radio station in the future, when humanity has been all-but wiped out. Or is it? These songs are all by different bands, interspersed with DJ chatter that tells just enough of the story for a narrative to be formed without giving everything away. Or are Qoheleth instead doing something adventurous not just with their music, but with the way their music is presented – toying with the album format and means of presentation? Both interpretations are valid, but the fact remains that Black Kite Broadcasts is a great album, and a marked improvement on previous release God is the Warmest Place to Hide.
One Thousand Birds are one of the most exciting bands I’ve heard in a long, long time. The mix of blackened screamo and harsh noise atmospheres on Sleep Study 11.11.17 is utterly overwhelming, and devastating in its almost nihilistic use of volume. Imagine if Gravity Records was starting out now, and all involved were big fans of the harshest of raw black metal, and you’re somewhere close to what One Thousand Birds are conjuring; it makes almost everything else you’ll have heard in recent times seem absolutely tame by comparison.
One of the most prolific names in extreme and experimental music, Gnaw Their Tongues (Maurice De Jong) is back with Genocidal Majesty, an album that delivers exactly what the title promises. Blending nihilistic black metal aesthetics with harsh noise, this is not an album to relax to. This is an album that sounds like death, filled with harsh and rumbling drones, tortured strings like shards of broken glass, and vocals drawn the deepest pits of human suffering – and that’s without considering the contributions from Chip King of The Body. Genocidal Majesty is an album where nightmares stalk the earth in the ruins of human civilization, constructing temples made of bone, where the choirs inside sing songs of damnation and suffering. Exactly what you’d hope for from Gnaw Their Tongues, then.
Despite only lasting for fifteen minutes, the self-titled EP from Vessel of Iniquity feels as if it packs a lifetime of pain and suffering in to its duration. The latest offering from the reclusive A. White is a roiling, monstrous mix of black, death, and noise, delivering an onslaught that truly does justice to the term “extreme”. Finding the threads that connect acts such as Teitanblood, Gnaw Their Tongues, and Impetuous Ritual, Vessel of Iniquity is a difficult listen, but one that offers many rewards for those who can brave its depths.
Underground extreme music is often a vibrant, exciting place, filled with bands and labels releasing work that pushes boundaries, challenges conventions (musically, socially, or otherwise), and is, by its very nature, often only intended for a small audience. Yet it can also be a place fraught with risk, especially financial. No one with any sense gets in to extreme music for the money, because most of the time, there isn’t any. This means that even if a label is responsible for helping to unleash some superb music upon the world, financial constraints might see that music vanish without a trace. Such was the original fate of Sedation by Rotting Sky, the solo project of Nux Vomica guitarist T. Messing, when the label that originally released it (Grimoire Cassette Culture) closed down around the time of Sedation‘s original release. Eternal praises to the labels involved, then, for giving this record a reissue and helping to save it from complete obscurity, as this mixture of black metal, drone, and noise is excellent.