Friday, February 8, 2013
Batillus "Concrete Sustain"
This four piece from Mew York features live members of A Storm of Light and Jarboe's band, so that shuuld clue you in on what's to come some experimental industrial strength metal side a side of sludge. While the electronic elements lay beneath the stacatto sludge it has the militant feel of industrial more than the sonics of it. The production contributes to this feel, though there is a lot of space left between instruments which reminded me of Helmet, though they are much darker.
The first track "Concrete" leads of with tight off time drumming and lets the low tuned guitar get poured in for the corners to fuzz out the edges as the barked vocals take up the spaces the center. It manages to feel very organic while clunking a like a cyborg with a tank for legs. The " sustain and dominate" chant reminds me of Author & Punisher. It takes a few listens for this to all fall in place for me mainly the nuances of the production is where the attention to detail was placed, I am immediatly interested in seeing how this plays out live which I'm guessing is heavier.
The bass becomes more present in the second track "Cast". I couldn't hear where it was falling on the first one but it becomes a focal point here. The snare takes on a more metallic clang and the vocals have a more black metal rasp to them, though not far removed from Today is the Day either. One unique thing bout this band is for what they do you would expect the guitar to all the work but it's not the case as it just adds and erosive rust to the edges of the machine, so they found like aunt rather than he came up with these riffs so we are working off that. If you told me the drummer wrote all the songs I wouldn't be surprised.
"Beset" creep to life with a rattle of fuzz. The tempo is more of a doomy lethargy. Where the other songs felt like the were coiled tight this one has a looser feel. the lower growled vocal contributes to the doom comparisons. The glitches of back ground vocals brings the evil in. The vocal production on this is excellent. Around the five minute mark something like a solo rings into the picture, not shredding just a single note thing that's more atmospheric than anything. I know every one wants to throw a blackens label on everything but I don't hear it here except on the vocals at times.
"Mirrors" has some weird electronics fluttering over the slow introductory guitar which goes into a riff more typical for what I would consider "New York metal" but this transitioning into something darker when the bass picks up the slack. Maybe some old Neurosis influence comes into play, but nothing worn to blatantly on their sleeves like say early Isis. One of the more straight forward moments on the album, but highly effective and heavy as an elephant fuck.
On "Rust" the bass gets things going again, the guitar comes in with a cleaner tone and goes into an almost Fugazi like pattern. This alternates with the dark drift where they hang on the chords, then congeal into more of a riff with it, truth be told what they go into is hard to categorize and very original in the execution. The riff in the last two minutes does remind me of Bloodlet, but once again their influences remain obscured .
The closer " Thorns" has clean vocals which are a low Swans like tone doubled with growls, almost like the end of " God of Emptiness" you know the "Bow to me faithfully..." I can see where Neurosis comparisons could crop up here and the vocal does more for me than the surypy guitar parts which don't really congeal. Four and a half minutes of floating out the murk has a stagnant feel. At the five and a half minute mark I hear the first guitar melody that clicks for me. Maybe if I was on drugs the pacing here would work for me, I think any opiate or depressant would work, these guys are not a meth or coke band for sure, so tweakers beware. So aside for lazy paced sludge of this song everything else clicks perfectly into place for me , it fits and odd place on my taste buds similar to the on Tombs used to occupy. With the tempo metal I normally go for the more morose funeral doom, but the electronic under tones and originality should give this solid footing in the ever evolving landscape of my iPod so this gets a 9. So that colors me impressed, not what I thought I was getting into as I expected something more Godflesh, from what I had read of these guys before pressing play. Instead it's much more organic but still has a rustic grime to it.