Monday, November 23, 2015

Sextile : A Thousand Hands


We are delving deeper into the bat-cave as the exploration of some of the years darker music we are catching up on continues. The cavernous production and the desperate emoting of the vocals give further credence to the fact that Los Angeles breed s the best death rock. This album came out back in August on Felte Records.  Though this is not a simple nod to Christian Death, but a odd mixture of many different elements. The opener carries a creeping throb as the guitars are used to cut through the air in a very Bauhaus manner . The build is subtle yet intense. "Flesh" finds surf rock blending into their sound. The guitars are still slicing but have that more Link Wray tone to them as the drums provide a more tribal accent. There is more mania injected into the surf -punk shimmy of "Can't Take it " that carries and odd synth pulse to the verses. The frantic tension running a jagged course through the rant of "Smoke in the Eye" is rough around it's edges with the synths warbling in the distance. The chaotic chant of "this is love" becomes choked out as the songs breaks down into a sample that eventually emerges to swallow the song whole when it fades out.

The vocals go into more of a coarse scream on "Truth and Perception". The song is bathed in droning noise over a repetitive pound, it really feels more like a interlude to me than an actual song. This is followed by another two minute interlude before the more synth driven and female sung "Mind's Eye' emerges with more clarity and focus in it's sensuous march. The snths sound like something from an 80s horror movie and here that really works. As this could very well have been the band that played in the second Howling. They take another stab a brooding darkwave synth dominated sounds this time with the lead singer back on the mic. His delivery is more muttered in a manner that reminds me a little of Ice Age. "Into the Unknown" finds the increased synth presence married to their more organic punk tinged instrumentation giving this song more of a pound and jangle. The vocals build into an anguished howl.

They lock into a more Joy Division like tension  on "Visions of You" this  rides the taunt guitar line building toward the chorus as the synths swell up in a wave around it. The vocals go into a lower register and croon upward in a more punk fashion, think old New Model Army here perhaps. They close out the album with a dark ambient piece that feels more like an outro than a song. I'll round this one up to a 9.5 as they take the death rock attitude and are not afraid to add odd pieces from other places to it to make something that is true to the generation of bands it was birthed from but true to their own vision.



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