Two new releases from the ever-evolving Land of Decay, both debuts which help the spread of LoD’s darkness across the aesthetic field, and the label’s continued pursuit (and attainment) of excellence. Seriously.
‘The One Who Infests Ships’ by The Subtraction is a three-track C40 of vacant, dark ambience with a strong electronic presence. Swallowing all of side A, “Noden’s Breath” is a hulking, menacing demigod of a composition, evoking landslides and epochal changes with deep rumble and cutting frictions. Motoric churning, gusty drones, and telephonic bleats generate most of the palate – think Pulse Emitter in a terrestrial mode, or Luasa Raelon but not so alien. The title track fills most of the second side with this contemptuous mixture like the audiograph of a weather machine, shifting slightly midway to feature a guitar-like volley of high-tension distortion, the thing moves without a narrative arc, bringing life to this sinister entity without any closure or comment. With such pairings as The Subtraction (that is, Jason Soliday and Omar Gonzalez), it’s always a riddle to parse-out such collaborative noise, to figure who’s contributing what, if it’s more than the sum of its parts; or, as in the case of the present, when no two parts are distinguishable, to riddle what such a union will not reveal. On pro-cut cassettes with full-color art.
Kapustin Yar stake one foot in the relentless traditions of black metal – with its vaporous voices, despondent chord progressions, and geeky obsession with esoteric citations – to establish the long-player ‘Trithemius.’ This foot planted, they extend the other to slowcore: jangly guitars, sparse yet articulate beats, and screen passes with broad vistas. This is the difference which makes a difference, such that subsequent moves toward prog-metal and industrial EBM are rerouted in novel ways. The most quotable, “Sea Altar,” features the guitar-pro effects of Tool in a deftly-looping groove; “Dirge” is like a composite psych-rock track made only of the standard deviation – the substantive mean having been gutted from the recording – leaving a whispy, tail-spun bombasmus behind; and the tape’s highlight and only track to surpass 10 minutes, “Collapsing Palace” is a postrock epic dosed on superfuzz and undergirded with concrète mise-en-scene [in case of reissue: please remaster to 10”]. In the finale, the title track is something of a head-slapper – spoiler alert – as the tape’s emergent tribalism is manifest in a crushing poly-rhythm with channel-skipping drones and bleeding feedback, affecting some imagined ceremony. This reconvergence around citations of the un-cited forebearers of contemporary black metalheads is much welcomed as a gesture of honesty and earnestness toward the entire community. On pro-press, ruby red tapes with art by Terence Hannum. Highly recommended.
Land of Decay cassette