Ithi – ‘Within’; and Servile Sect – ‘Demos 2005/2006’ [Review]

‘Within’ is a friendly appearance on Land of Decay by Utech regulars Ithi, who easily fill that guitar-voice-doom/melodic-drone niche with Locrian, Plotkin, Owwl.  The duo of Shawn Convey and Luke Krnkr play a music their own size, fielding epic sounds without too much affect or overblown sentiments.  The tracks are cool – not cold – and agnostic, not aloof.  The opener “Go Forth and Die” is a cold wave variation on that perennial theme, sparking a light-touch evacuation throb with monotone throat singing, but charged with a cresting loop of a bright metal lick familiar to the noble abstracts of Horseback – the piece melting into their “cover” of Nico’s “Roses in the Snow”, a difficult quotation only satisfied when the tidal sound suddenly runs ashore.  This would have been a jewel in the Phaserprone catalog were it active again.  On the reverse, “NoWHere” is a side-long, low-industrial drone cum doom send-up.  Like the rough-hewn pattern which fills the panels of the j-card, this vaguely geometric plane is more cellular, disrupted, familiar to the tapes of the quietly-defunct Peasant Magik.   100 copies on legit, imprinted tapes and sleeves.

Krnkr’s regular gig is half (sometimes quarter) of Servile Sect, who with regular coauthor Nhate Clmnt (what’re you gonna do?) have been releasing a steady-stream of genre-bending black ambient LPs and cassettes for several years now.  If it’s any credential of their consistency, the band seem to tack an album on from the beginning of their career for each they record anew, such as when Ecstatic Peace! reissued their 2007 long-player ‘Stratospheric Passenger’, or now with LoD’s ‘Demos 2005/2006’.  Side A of the C30 is consumed whole by “Manifesting Starships To Destroy The Vatican”,  with dense plumes of distortion and whisps of high-altitude vocals filling the channels in classic doom fashion, yet in the end parting to reveal the slightest twinkle of stars and sky behind – a rather unique development connoting delicacy and optimism.  On the reverse, the blend “Nouranihar/Kings Of Saturn” reminds us of the “demo” status of these recordings: hastier in production, anxious in tempo, and vacillating from segment to segment, these are seeds of ideas, jotted fast and furious in single-take riffs and unfiltered electronics.  The presence of the latter adds a dimension of personal worry familiar to the narratives of David Reed’s Envenomist or the portraits of Hive Mind, made from alien technologies, malfunction and quantum-physical perceptual static.  In their imagery, the band’s invocation of cosmic matters is, while not exactly a problem, not exactly intuitive to the earth-bound paganism of their Metal forerunners.  The co-release of older outings with new provide easy evidence for how the group developed their niche from these diverse sources.  100 copies on green cassettes with full-color inserts.

Land of Decay cassette

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