Salome – Salome – 4/5
If you quickly glance at what I’ve been posting of late – lots of simplistic, upbeat and positive music (as well as a children’s film on the movie blog) – then you may notice that this would seem to stick out rather sorely. And it’s not as though I’ve in the space of a day decided to listen to the polar opposite of where my tastes were taking me, this was simply an artist I saw recommended in passing that sounded interesting; the simple combination of thick guitars, guttural shrieks and wailing drum beats used to create something akin to a Sludge-laden Funeral Doom epic with maybe a hint of Drone, morbidly depressive music not without its melody and it didn’t take long for its encapsulating atmosphere to engulf my surroundings and drag me down into its murky depths.
Perhaps the most observant will have noticed no mention of the bass guitar, and that’s because there isn’t one and before you start exclaiming, that’s because it simply doesn’t need one. The level of distorted feedback and bass noise from the guitar adds a dynamic that can shift from thick to thin in an instant, and is capable of adding a level of unpredictability to the fold, a raw edge to force your way through that shows no sign of getting any easier. The production is immaculate, every crash of the drums, every distant guttural growl and the resonance of the guitars never cloud one another, laboriously worked with one another. Even the tracks themselves feel carefully worked to create an overall album rather than a mere collection; the quickest track opening, slowing down and then increasing the level of despair in preparation for the all-out epic ending, slowing things down to a crawl until the inevitable drawn out deathly conclusion.
No element is overused, they have no reluctance to let the guitars dominate or perform without percussion which only lends greater impact when the drumming does kick in; laborious in their style, slow and dominative with a notable ‘anti-energy’ to them; a reluctance to perform, a slow begrudging pounding beat that never fails to enhance the haunting atmosphere. And the vocals; she’s 5ft1, blonde (fairly pretty), and her vocal prowess landed her a spot as the new vocalist for the grindcore band ‘Agoraphobic Nosebleed.’ If you think at any point she is going to let up the atmosphere then you can think again; twisted growls and harrowing shrieks reeking of desperation, snarling torturously and spitting venomously at every turn, only adding to the beautiful misery created.
There are no frills here, no ‘folk’ overtones or gothic organs; everything feels as though it has gone back to basics and then been expanded on, the impact of the apocalyptic tones of the classics diminished over time as the genre has been further explored towards the extremities leaving new releases like this pushing the boundaries of what is conceivable. It’s not the most original piece, but if the genres main objective is to create a thick sense of impending dread, a slow, grinding, distorted cacophony of desperation and doom, then this has succeeded in its task with flying colours.
Highlight: White Tides
Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Posted by T. Bawden Thursday, 18 February 2010