As this Atlanta band grew from wanting to be a black metal band into a death metal band they have improved with each album. 'Grief Relic' being my favorite to date. This album finds the band crawling out from under another line up change with a new guitarist and bass player. Both of whom, main man Thompson knows from the Atlanta metal scene. The first song has more of a sludge feel to it. The darkness is more expressive. Clean singing also stirs from some of this density. It sits back in the mix so is not like they suddenly have become Killswitch Engage. Considering their hometown, the fact that their is Mastodon influence in this regard is not a surprise . The second song finds them returning to a more stormy blitz of chaos buzzing in it's rfffage that recalls more of the band's earlier sound. Midway the songs shifts into a darker and sonically dense riff that I prefer over the more manic attack. The newer members have certainly brought more of a "Through Silver and Blood " era Neurosis influence with them.
Meeting in a murky intersection of death metal and sludge "Dissolve" feels like a compromise between where they were headed on the last album and where they are now. There are more melodic excursions into atmosphere on this album which plays to the listener's favor. The initial attack of "Casting in Wait" is like a more feral explosion of sludge before being caught in a more sonic deluge. If you wanted the more straight-ahead aggression of death metal the previous album hit you with, there might not be as much of that, but some of the riffs to this song should scratch that itch. "Passing Through" is a collage of ambient noise that serves as an interlude into "...the Long Hurt", this song also plays into more of a chaotic feral snarl of sludge. The vocal trade off with this one feels like the vocals are just a layer rather than adding to the narrative.
The title track is a Swans like instrumental. Acoustic guitars play over and under belly of ambient noise. The last song finds them stomping back into a more sonically atmospheric take on death metal that has enough of an angular groove to pleasing for those in the mood to head bang. As the album progresses there is more of an organic feel to it despite the more reverb layered noise inflections to color the corners of the songs. More sung vocals emerge. Overall, this album is going to need to grow on me more than "Grief Relic" did. I will give it a 9 for now and sit with it for a while, if you are open to this band taking a left turn into sludge from the last album then it might connect with you sooner. Still, it sounds great and the accomplished what they set out to.