This duo is not a metal band, but has collaborated with a great deal of metal musicians. This album was conceived in a more isolated setting in Astoria , Oregon rather than Chicago. The only guest contributor to this album aside from the producer is Swans percussionist Thor Harris. You know how I feel about Swans, so I have to cover this. The opening track is a dark introspective piece that is not far removed from Leonard Cohen or the more recent work of Nick Cave. JR Robinson possesses a rich resonate baritone. It anchors this song that would almost float away if not for his voice grounding it. I am not sure I would call this goth, but it is heading in that direction. There is more of an organic almost Americana feel, that keeps it out of the bat cave. The introspective tenderness carries over into "Descent into Blindness". The instrumentation might even be more surreal on this song.
Sometimes Robinson's phrasing falls in a way that makes it seem like he is reciting poetry rather than singing. "Behold ! the Final Scream" starts off not as dark, then three minutes in the bring in distortion that broods like a storm rolling in. The synths that float above the distorted guitar give it more of a horror movie feel. What I like most about these guys are Robinson's vocals so whenever those are not as prominent, I am not as drawn in. Fans of harder edged post-rock will enjoy this atmosphere. Lyrically lines like 'if I lie awake at night/ thinking of you drained of life" are what makes the song heavy more than the droning chug of guitar. "Covered in Blood From Invisible Wounds"finds Robinson coming to more of a compromise between a croon and spoken word. The lyrics roll more freely in this manner. "Forgive Yourself and Let Go" begins in an even more delicate fashion. For the first six minutes the song simmers. Samples bubble under the ambiance giving it a more dream like quality. It is like dreaming of an orchestra tuning up and then things go astray.Things do swell in intensity . This is done in a more post-rock manner than metal.
The vocals finally come in four minutes into the hovering ambiance of title track that closes the album. Some of the piano melodies in the background give the feeling this could be on the soundtrack of a David Lynch film. While I am not incredibly versed in this project's body of work, this album strikes me as being more introspective. The mood captured is the feeling of being numb after being flooded with loss. I'll round this one up to a 9 as they have obviously created the album they had in mind. In the perfect world I would like something more centered around his vocals, but can see where less in more in their minds. If you are already a fan of this project then you will find this stark piece of work an interesting addition.