Enter The Tombs of Oregon’s Haunt

Do you feel that? The cold chill in the air. Do you see your breath in front of your face? Do you smell the formaldehyde preserving your blue-ing shell of a human body. Do you taste the moist dirt in your mouth? Do you hear the cries of your loved ones saying their final goodbyes? If you do, then prepare yourself for the worst part of all…..the grave-robbing fiend know as Salem, Oregon’s Haunt.

Spooky visual aside, you would think to yourself “Oh this is just more death metal” based on the book cover. Nope. This is hands-down the most rotting black metal I have heard in fucking forever. Take the best parts of old-school Mayhem, demo-era Gorogoroth, and throw in a shitload of Bathory riffs to measure and you have something that while on paper seems like total textbook black metal. But actually listening to Haunt is a completely different experience all together. For one can we talk about that sound production? It’s the very definition of black metal. It just sounds like it was recorded in some dank mausoleum in the middle of a graveyard in the middle of a chilly Autumn night. The riffs combined with the sound production give it a complete and total reminder of “The Return…” by Bathory and other old-school ‘necro’ Black Metal albums.

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Vocally-speaking, the gentleman sounds like Dead of Mayhem reincarnated. At times I had to double check to make sure I wasn’t listening to Mayhem. Listen to the gentleman in Haunt and then listen to Dead’s screaming in the legendary “Live In Leipzig” album, and the comparison is pretty fucking spooky. On top of one of the best killer combination of vocals, riffs, and sound production, you also get some creepy and eerie instrumental/sound clips of z-grade grainy horror films from the 70’s/80’s which gives the Haunt’s version of black metal a very rotting and spectral feel to it, which is definitely outside of the usual subject matter that black metal deals with. I would usually complain that a band like Haunt is doing nothing different than what has come before….but for 2017 this is pretty radical stuff. Where as most people have tried in vain to re-capture the sound and spirit of the late 80’s/early 90’s Black Metal sound, Haunt perfectly captures it. Captures it to the point of it seeming like a time-capsule suddenly dug up out of the earth and freshly exhumed for examination.

I can’t say enough about this band. Truly something special. Check out Haunt on Bandcamp and support them.

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Burial At Sea buries Groove Metal right where it should be to properly resurrect it.

Let’s get one thing nice and sparkling clear: As an opening statement, I fucking HATE Groove Metal. It has always been the bane of my existence as an extreme music fan and overall music fan. It’s the one thing that I feel insults my intelligence as a listener. Groove Metal for the most part off started promising and exciting with it’s birth given to us by Exhorder, and even Prong to certain degrees. But the second Pantera recorded their 1996 opus “The Great Southern Trendkill,” the Texas titans threw that entire genre in the fire. As a nice way to nicely give it’s would-be-pretenders-to-the-throne and wannabe-usurpers the middle finger. And to also give every pint-sized wannabe-tough guy who has shaved his head(or given himself an undershave), thrown their tantrum on stage, and failed to achieve the standards set by the masters of Groove. That’s like the first of my many complaints with a genre of music that has failed to progress in the least bit in the past 15 years. I would go into more reasons, but I’ll spare you the complaints and grievances for a personal one on one if you ever want to hit me up on social media.

But with the damn-near death of one thing, it also begins to lead to it’s possible re-birth: “The Art of Retribution” by Central Florida’s Burial At Sea is not only Groove Metal’s underdog, but might just be an overall Metal band that could very well put Florida Metal back on the map as far as crossover mainstream appeal WHILE showing that it has more to offer than a pair of baggy olive drab shorts and some re-hashed riff from 1992. For one, the riffs here are abundantly clear that no this isn’t your grand-pappy’s “Walk.” Take the groove of the masters of old and then plop them down somewhere between 2003-2006 where it has Metalcore/New Wave of American Heavy Metal influences. Instead of focusing solely on chugs, there’s also the melodies that are directly from Swedish side of the pond. Think of In Flames when they were actually a band worth a fuck. There’s plenty of dominating breakdowns and double-bass to lure in the unsuspecting listener. Basically this picks up right where Groove Metal started to suck major balls and is determine to correct it’s past sins. I mean, it’s a hell of a starting point in 2017 considering that particular time period is one that a lot of people don’t look back on with fond memories, but you know what? If Nu-Metal/Rap Metal of all fucking genres can survive in some unexplained way, then why not Groove Metal/Metalcore? I say let the dog have it’s day.

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Vocal-wise, yeah you’re going to get the aggro yells. You’re going to get the flying spit in the face from the mic-holder. You’re going to get lyrical frustration of someone who has enough conviction to sound like he fucking hates his life and surrounding environment(s). You’re going to get a taste of what came before. Somewhere by the 2nd or 3 track I thought to myself “Damn dude, you really had me going!” But the vocalist has more than just being a whiny honky motherfucker crying about god knows what. You get the good cop/bad cop vocals, but his good cop is more of a take on Fear Factory‘s very own Burton C. Bell. Speaking of the Decibel Magazine’s HoF inductees….there’s parts where you get a certain Industrial ‘clang’ and ‘ping’ to the drums which is also a bit of fresh air. Sound production it’s very crisp-clear so you don’t have to worry about it being too dirty for your virgin ears. I’m looking at you Lamb Of God/Killswitch Engage fans.

But instead of where Groove Metal succumbed to an embarrassing fake-patriotic mainstream failure with Five Finger Death Punch, Burial At Sea goes back to the drawing board of the mid-2000’s and says “Fuck that!” and completely drafts-up a new pitch to the genre as a way to save it from it’s own comical leanings. Oh I’m sure Burial At Sea are not the ONLY band trying to do so with their bold statement of a debut album. But damn it, if they aren’t the loudest then I would be a fool of a human being to believe otherwise.

Burial At Sea’s “The Art Of Retribution” is now available on Itunes, and Spotify. Check them out on Facebook as well.

Artist Spotlight: Neill Jameson of Krieg

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Neill Jameson: He makes beautiful family-friendly music. I can assure you.

This is something really special that I am glad I got the opportunity to do: Decibel Magazine ranter, Krieg frontman, and all-around black metal father figure Neill Jameson is having a rather busy summer. On top of just releasing a new side-project Poison Blood thru Relapse Records, he just recently announced that he was re-releasing music from Krieg as well as new music from other bands under his new label, aptly called Black House Industries. So in light of all those releases, I decided to do an artist spotlight reviewing the releases he’s been hacking away at. Starting this spotlight will be the first release under his record label. For the uneducated, this isn’t the first time Neill has released music under his own record label. He originally ran Blood Fire Death Records starting in 1998 and unleashed a slew of releases by artists such as Xasthur, Loss, Demoncy, Pest, Archgoat, Lugubrum, and a few others. Fast-forward to 2017; in typical Neill fashion, he announced the first release of Black House Industries in a rather bluntly and sarcastic-like fashion that he is known to . Already he has one release that is going to get the ol’ razzle dazzle treatment on his label. Me being a long time fan of Mr. Jameson was granted the honor of reviewing these various releases. Admittedly, I started boofin’ pretty hard whenever I got the promo(s) in my Gmail account. But enough of my fanboy nerding-out and let’s see what jamz he has prepared to be shat in everyone’s ear canals during this extremely humid and stormy summer shall we?

Future TerrorWe’re All Fucked (2017) Black House Industries

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First up we have the very first release on his new label which is Future Terror, a Hardcore Punk band based out of Richmond, Virgina. Without listening to the actual music and judging by the artwork, I already knew what I was in for: Hardcore Punk in the vein of Discharge/Tragedy/Extreme Noise Terror/Doom(UK). I’ve been on a bit of a Hardcore drought since last year’s excellent “Never” LP by Withdrawal. That album and the new Integrity LP are the only albums that have registered on my radar in the past year or so when it comes to that specific genre. But within the first 10 seconds of the wonderfully and sardonically-tiled “Conned By God,” I am lost within the noise. Not in a bad way by any means. Whenever I loose myself in music, it’s always a good thing. It’s there that I personally feel at peace with the current tense climate of a dysfunctional society. Understanding that the UK-influenced US band might not exactly be doing anything as outside of the box as Withdrawal pulling in post-punk/goth rock influences, or even Integrity dabbling in black metal influences. But then again I’m not some stickler for needing something original each and every time I listen to a new band. Hell, I am just happy there are still bands like Future Terror carrying on the traditions and ethos of the UK noise-making bunch and act like they have a sense of urgency. An urgency that screams either play riffs or die and get the fuck out of the way.  Especially when you take into account with a song title such as ‘You Think You Are So Special.” A total un-PC iron fist-in-the-face of modern-day society. Bottom line: This is the shit I like and would highly recommend these jamz to anyone who is needing a good shot of adrenaline-speed Hardcore Punk. Definitely made for those who are still pissed at the last Amebix album for not being crusty enough or not sounding like it’s 1985. “We’re All Fucked” will be released this Friday, September the 8th and is limited to 100 copies on clear yellow cassette w/1.5″ pin.

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KriegSono Lo Scherno (2017) Inferna Profundis Records

Originally recorded in 1998, but never released until 2005, “Sono Lo Scherno” was meant to be the follow-up to the first Krieg album “Rise Of The Imperial Hordes” but for whatever reason, frontman Neill Jameson decided to keep it in the vaults until sometime later. To be completely honest with this one, I had a copy of this I got waaaaaay back in 2008 or 2009 that I purchased but I never got around to fully listen to. I’ve been very familiar with Krieg since first hearing the US Black/Thrash band Blood Storm name drop them in Slayer ‘Zine issue #15 in the early 00’s. Outside of that trivia bit about myself, I couldn’t give you a legit reason or excuse why I never listened to this album. As I am writing this, I’m experiencing it for the first time, and I’m legit a bit blown away by how it sounds absolutely nothing like what Krieg is known for, especially from the time period it was originally written. It’s weird because listening to this now in 2017, it sounds completely alien yet familiar. There are parts that sound like old-school Krieg as far as the raw production goes. There are a number of samples and ambient passages that provides moments of unique atmosphere among the 90’s Profanatica/Judas Iscariot/Beherit/Bestial Summoning riffs.  The song “Ruin Under The Burning Skies” is not what one might be thinking of in connection of what is found on the legendary “The Black House” LP. It’s the polar opposite. Even some of the song titles such as “Maelstrom,” “Plague Waltz,” and “Hypnotic Decay” sound as if they would be found on an 80’s Thrash album. That’s not an insult or slur, it’s just something I wouldn’t expect from the creative demented mind of Neill Jameson. The entire album for the most part is a giant curve-ball. It’s also noted that this indeed was part of the early years of Krieg and to see how far Neill has come as far is nothing short of the making of one of the father figures in the USBM scene and genre overall. After having enough time to listen to this and take everything in, there is something strangely luring about this album. The more I think about it, the more I am becoming more and more favorable to this offering from Krieg. There’s also a killer fucking Nunslaughter cover included. Overall, it’s something unexpected. It’s different, yet it retains a lot of familiar traits that Krieg is known for. I would definitely recommend this for die-hard Krieg fans and not someone who just picked up a copy of “The Black House” or “The Isolationist.” If you’re like me being someone is more familiar with past Krieg albums and experiencing this for the first time, go into it with an open mind.  “Sono Lo Scherno” will be released on September 25 on Inferna Profundus Records. Pre-orders are up on the label’s official store and can be found here. 

Poison Bloodself-titled (2017) Relapse Records

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I had been meaning to review this album earlier before it was released. Long story short: I was busy with my first Noisey piece and learning the ins-and-outs of becoming a legit freelance writer took up some of my time from making an honest attempt to review this. Seeing how the news from Neill came about, I decided to go ahead and add it on to this as an artist spotlight moment and rectify that issue. Also seeing how much output Mr. Jameson does, it’s falls into the add-on department of this particle review article. Poison Blood‘s self-titled album is probably the rawest thing Neill has done in a good while. It’s a collaboration with Jenks Miller of Horseback that deals with the obsession that Neill Jameson has with the desert landscapes and all the mysteries that lie within the shadows of the wastelands. If anything should be noted is how much ground these two beautiful bastards are covering in such a short time frame as far as a release goes. It clocks in under 19 minutes, but what they accomplish is a perfect balance of both the ugly, depraved, and beautiful. The album starts out right out of the gates of nanna with the song “The Scourge And Gestalt” which is almost like The Velvet Underground covering Beherit in total Rudimentary Peni -fashion; psychedelic, dirty, seductive and black-as-fuck. The Beherit influence is so apparent and so well-done that quite honestly Poison Blood is really the album that Beherit should have done in between “Drawing Down The Moon” and “Engram.” While I don’t dislike the Beherit electronic/ambient albums, if this were an alternate universe that existed, Beherit would have fared better in that that era of their music had they gone the route and played more in the vein of what Poison Blood does. Past the Beherit-isms, what really sticks out the most is the psychedelic textures of the album. The Moog synths of Jenks Miller adds the entire “desert vibe” that Neill Jameson said he was going for with this album and his fascination with it. At one point (“The Flower Of Serpents”) it makes rember all the great ambient synth pieces by Burzum, Neptune Towers, and Era 1 of Mortiis. That’s not to say it’s a rip-off of 90’s Norway, but ambiance-wise for myself it makes me wanna break out all those Casio keyboard songs that were at one point a legit thing within Black Metal. It’s well-rounded and tastefully done on how they really mix it extremely well with the dirty blackened guitar style. If anything it leaves you wanting more. Having just listened to Krieg‘s “Sono Lo Scherno” LP pior before deciding to add this review into the article piece, this side-project seems like a future cousin of it, only slightly less deranged but fucked-up nonetheless. It’s just another testament to how Neill Jameson is able to spread his wings over different types of side-projects and bands and cover so much ground, including past side-projects such as Twilight(RIP), Le Chant Funebre, N.I.L., and a host of others both active and defunct. It’s also a testament that for all intents and purposes, Neill’s words and blackened heart has always been strict dedication in producing some of the more interesting moments in the US black metal geographical location amidst the muck that gets slung around on other Metal news websites.  You can order Poison Blood‘s self-titled LP from Relapse and they also have some killer band merch as well. 

There is also the announcement of the re-issue of the 2013 out-of-print demo from New Jersey’s Hardcore sons of darkness The Banner as an upcoming release for Black House Industries. Anything else Neill decides to release either through Black House Industries or elsewhere will definitely be supported and spread here at Esoterica Codex. If you would like to give Neill hails, do so by checking out and clicking ‘like’ on the official Black House Industries Facebook Page. And if all else fucking fails and none of this interests you, go buy some shit from Neill Jameson on Discogs.com so that he can purchase cat food and kitty litter for his cats. Friendly reminder tho: Just don’t invite them to like your band.

From the Plutonian planet of the Yuggoth comes Tchornobog’s self-titled album.

Can we get one thing out of the way first? The album artwork.

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That. Fucking. Eye.

It just downright creeps the ever-living blue fuck out of me. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get right into the music of this bad-boy. A one man band created by Ukranian Markov Soroka, Tchornobog isn’t exactly a band that is going to be re-inventing the rules of Black Metal. But what he does with this debut album is a hellish combination of Deathspell Omega and Napalm Death. That’s about as close as I can come to describing this outer worldly monstrosity.

The self-titled album only delivers 4 tracks. The first is fucking 20 minutes long. I have heard some people say “Spare me the long intro”, but for me I’m a patient kinda dude when it comes to music like this. Especially if I’m listening to this at 12:30 AM in the middle of the night whenever my fiancee is asleep and all the animals are curled up. It gives me the chance to fully take something like this in. Even the song titles alone; “I: The Vomiting Tchornobog (Slithering Gods of Cognitive Dissonance)” and “IIII: Here, At The Disposition of Time (Inverting A Solar Giant)” take a good amount of concentration to let your imagination get its gears turning properly. At least for me that seems to be the case.

The music contained in the album itself has many peaks and valleys much like what is shown visually on the album artwork. For such a huge album it’s a lot to take in. Tchornobog has the ability to appeal progressive/outside-of-the-box thinking metal nerds. I don’t say that as an insult seeing how I’m a sucker for albums such as “Operation: Mindcrime,” “Nothingface,” “Human,” etc, but this one is a bit more challenging. Tchornobog‘s self-titled album is a constant-changing riff terrain that demands your full attention. Mind you this is one of those albums that does automatically hits you right off the bat, but it’s still an album that I know will take many repeated listens just to get the mapped-out feel of the almost alien-like landscape. It’s a fucking maze of riffs ( and torment too!). One second you get the blastbeats, the next you get a really doomy breakdown, etc. But the way Mr. Tchornobog goes about arranging all of the riffs and compositions is actually a good contrast to say Germany’s own The Ruins Of Beverast. Where TROB are more doomier, Tchornobog adds in the extra little bit of Death Metal elements here and there. Not a lot, but enough to make the music more beefier and dissonant in some parts.

For all intents and purposes, this is mood music. I don’t see this album inspiring an ever-growing legion of fans who are going to be praising Mr. Soroka to ad nauseum any time soon. More like this is an album for the individual to sit back, and unlock doors in the mind that leads them to wherever. As space-y and nerdy as that sounds, that’s all I can really used to describe it. All and all, it’s a creepy fucking album, complete with crawling eyes and maze-like riffs.

Tchornobog‘s self-titled album is now available on Fallen Empire Records for digital release. I-Voivdhanger Records will be doing a limited edition CD pressing. Other than that, you can follow the one man band at his official Facebook page or his official Bandcamp page.

The Mortal Awakening Of Father Befouled on “Desolate Gods.”

A lot of people in 2017 scream “Too much Incantation-worship!“, and to that I say “Phooey!“. Truth be told, I don’t know what they are listening to, nor do I care. Like any self-respecting Death Metal fan, I can’t get enough of not just Incantation but their influence. Ever since I first heard “Mortal Throne of Nazarene” and “The Forsaken Morning Of Angelic Anguish” as a teen in the 90’s, I’ve wanted more. The feeling and desire of something like Incantation to completely blow me away and shatter my concept of Death Metal is always there. That’s not to say other Death Metal bands haven’t blown me away since, that would a lie. But I’m always yearning for that nice sweet spot that Incantation’s influence can always bring and brighten up my day if ever I am having a bad one.

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Enter Father Befouled‘s “Desolate Gods” on Dark Descent Records. Right off the bat, can we discuss the artwork? I love the whole ‘ancient cave drawing out of a horror movie’ feel to it- like some primitive form of mankind worshiping creepy crawling things of the unknown world they live in. Artwork aside, the album itself just might be Father Befouled‘s best, as they mature while staying true and honest to their Incantation-inspired Death Metal roots. I have just described them with both “worship” and “influence”, but it’s apparent that on “Desolate Gods” Father Befouled have gone from “worship” TO “influence”, coming into their own while becoming more comfortable in their skin. That’s not saying anything negative about the band. Detractors be damned, because “Desolate Gods” is, for the lack of better terms, fucking sweet!

My personal favorite track on “Desolate Ones” is “Ungodly Rest.” The doomy-as-fuck deathly stomper is a form of sound that I personally love. It’s also a change of pace from the rest of the album and really shows the band’s writing chops -not relying on the same ol’/same ol’ that I’ve heard from a shitload of other more uninspired bands. Yes, I am going to throw the Lovecraft reference in here as well, but the slow, plodding, funeral dirge of the song just fits the concept of dark ancient entities and possible readings from books bound in human flesh and inked in blood. “Mortal Awakening” has a subtle tinge of blackened riffs before the headbanging breakdown kicks in.  Other songs such as “Exalted Offal” and “Desolate Gods” have twists and turns as well, but at the end of the day it remains true to the Incantation style of Death Metal which is never a bad thing.

I’ll say one last thing concerning the new Father Befouled (and I know I am not the only one who more or less felt this way) . In comparison to their last album, “Desolate Gods” is far superior. Superior artwork, superior productions, superior song-writing, and hands down the best the band has created. This is Death Metal for worshiping old ones while working around the house trying to beat the summer heat. Enjoy!

Father Befouled‘s “Desolate Gods” is out now on Dark Descent Records. You can follow the band on their official FB page and order their album at Dark Descent Record’s official Bandcamp page.

Impetuous Ritual will tear your soul apart!

There are times where you need ‘it‘. And by ‘it‘ I am referring to those sounds of sub-vexation that open up doorways to other worlds. Times where you need to exit this mere mortal plane and take the step into the vast chasm that stands before you and fall into the void itself. Completely swallowing all light and embracing the speedy descent into the depths of darkness. There you will find Australia’s Impetuous Ritual greeting you with otherworldly blasphemies and the crawling horrors of the unknown.

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Impetuous Ritual are ghastly members comprised of other devotees and worshipers of said void. Primarily Portal and Grave Upheaval. Where as the other two have their own left hand paths they have carved out for themselves, Impetuous Ritual dwell somewhere in the nether regions spewing forth obscene and disgusting death metal. Taking queues from bands such as Incantation, Immolation, and the ancient spells of Morbid Angel, IR have soiled upon past successful rituals to the adversary and warped it beyond anyone’s imagination. If you were to fall asleep tonight and dream of something worst than Hell itself, you would awake to IR’s newest album “Blight Upon Martyred Sentience.”

The opening track “Void Cohesion” is like standing right in front the immense and yawning gates to a world without hope. It is the sound of imminent and pre-ordained mental torture. Where as other bands aim to warp your mind to hymns of ancient ones and cosmic terror, IR are pure and undiluted desolation. To be able to perfectly follow the macabre concerto of “Blight…” would be nothing short of somewhere between total genius and absolute madness.  Upon listening to this album the first quarter of the album is like experiencing all the horrors and fear of the world at one blinding second. By the time songs such as “Synchronous Convergence” and “Sullen” blast through my stereo speakers, the message begins to become more clear. At best, I personally feel like I have been in a trance for the previous half an hour. That’s not putting anything in a negative fashion either. For me it’s a positive. I WANT to be lost in the absolute hellish noise. I WANT to be engulfed by the absolute darkness that bands like Impetuous Ritual are about to craft cohesively and methodically.

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The last half of “Blight Upon Martyred Sentience” is where you might find yourself becoming desensitized to the mental torture Impetuous Ritual have done to you. By reaching your pain threshold, you plead to these deathlike apparitions to experience more blasphemous delights. The last track “Intransience” is a machinated memorandum of dementia presented as a last will of a non-living testament. The longest and most precisely concocted hymn of despair. An anthem of total extinction of life itself.

There is an old saying when dealing with the occult. And I am sure the members of Impetuous Ritual have taken this to heart; one is not born into the darkness, instead they are drawn to it  like a monolithic magnet. Enter the void and seek out “Blight Upon Martyred Sentience.”

Impetuous Ritual‘s newest album “Blight Upon Martyred Sentience” is available June 16th from Profound Lore Records. You can pre-order the album here as well as follow the band on their official Facebook page.

“Horizonless” but not directionless, Loss loses nothing and gains all with their 2nd album.

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I do not remember a depression such as this
How many clocks has it been since we’ve last spoken?

Such is the question many have asked. 6 years of being silently and completely overcome by the band Loss have fans such as myself have not even heard a peep or a muster out of the US funeral doomsters. And the longing for the lights to dim in that room and for their particular brand of depressing darkness that has not been felt has been utterly painful. A split released in 2014 with Hooded Menace was nothing more than a red flag for the surfacing of possibly a new album. But again, more silence. Leaving fans such as myself in the best of words “horizonless” as implied by their newest album’s title. BUT…alas, the sorrow and melancholy never truly goes away and Loss are back and as bleak as they have ever been. Never letting up on punishing the listener and throwing them into a severe state of chemical imbalance…

Horizonless” picks right up where their 2011 debut album on Profound Lore Records, “Despond“, ended in absolute and total desolation. The tragic despondency of their 2nd album may seem as if they are stepping outside of their own brand of US funeral doom, but if anything, it’s adding 10 more layers of grief to the already sorrow-filled listener. The slow pounding drumbeats and retching vocals of the intimidating and towering Goliath of torment, Mike Meacham, breaks the quiet of the past 6 years with the opening track “The Joy of All Who Sorrow.” The next 10 minutes and 42 seconds, that dark room shakes with the knowledge that the stars have finally burnt out and fallen and the physical boundaries of the walls to the room fade into the shadows, exposing the entrance to the void appears, widens and opens once again, reaching for all of those who want to defy the damnable and disappear into the fathomless depths of abyss and all that lies there within. This is not to say this is the only song that you should not dread on this album. Songs such as the title track, “All Grows On Tears,” “When Death Is All,” and “Naught” are all songs reaching for the 10 minute mark and reaching past. “i.o.” is the almost a snippet of a horror film not yet been filmed. “The End Steps Forth” is an extension of “i.o.” and opens up all the doors to the endless halls in the maze-like mausoleum that Loss watch over in solitude but which hauntingly recalls Industrial legends Skinny Puppy‘s “The Killing Game” minus the electronics.

  Loss is not what one would call a traditionally conceptual band, but if you have noticed, or maybe it’s their music that is making me look past the sorrowful tunes into possibly deeper shades of darkness, their artwork adorning their release paints a grim story to a man via suicide (2004’s demo “Life Without Hope…Death Without Reason“) onto his mourning widow’s death bed (2011’s debut “Despond“) and then finally what lies beyond the end to whatever life they may have lived or led to a place without meaning, without light, without hope, without any thing that might resemble a light at the end of the tunnel they called life. A place where ravens, and vultures circle the lost wandering souls and ghost in a plane of existence that is beyond one’s comprehension. A void of absolute anguish with zero redeeming hope of possible redemption or deliverance from it’s shadowy realm (2017’s sophomore “Horizonless“). I don’t know if I am the only corrupted listener that has noticed this….but it’s something that has recently popped into my head as I review this album and quite honestly, it’s a bit disturbing. With their newest album, artist Adam Burke who’s visual landscaping talents have given other sonic heavy artists such as Gatecreeper, Artificial Brain, and Mare Cognitum album artwork eye-candy, has expanded the portrait that Loss has hung up in it’s rotting, mildew, moldy and decrepit funeral parlor.

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Bow your heads and worship. Hail to nothingness.

If anything the album “Horizonless” shows that the musicians have grown to the point where their music can inflict even MORE pain and hopeless struggle upon the listener. Vocalist Mike Meacham is the lighthouse, the welcoming dark light for the dismal, the heavy-hearted, and downcast. Guitarist Timothei Lewis has honed in further to his melodies that have become like a handful of blunt, rusty razors easily slicing up wrists and opening the veins to let the blood flow for the last time. John Anderson’s bass is the rumblings of absolute and impending doom which is makes any living mortal shudder in total despair and panic. Sound wise, drummer Jay LeMaire leaves no downward posture of the downbeat unweighted down without piling upon even more burden on their already broken backs, each kick or blast another pound of unhappiness forcing the listener to finally cave in and fall to their knees. Assisting these pallbearers with the recently deceased and parted on their funeral marches to their waiting lonely graves are none other than black metal’s Tall Man himself Wrest a.k.a. Jef Whitehead (Leviathan, Lurker of Chalice, Twilight), his wife/musical partner Stevie Floyd(Dark Castle/Devout/Taurus) and well-known producer Billy Anderson (Melvins/Asunder/Neurosis/Swans/etc.) all three whom providing vocals to the final curtain-pulling track “When Death Is All” which closes on another long, depressing chapter in the dust-and-cobweb-covered signature book in Loss’s funeral parlor where they are currently making a killing in their own personal business.

In the immortal words of Dante’sInferno“;

Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure
All hope abandon ye who enter here

Track Listing:
1. The Joy Of All Who Sorrow (10:42)
2. i.o (1:50)
3. All Grows On Tears (8:44)
4. Moved Beyond Murder (2:44)
5. Naught (9:52)
6. The End Steps Forth (4:08)
7. Horizonless (10:54)
8. Banishment (4:47)
9. Where Death Is All (11:00)

Horizonless” by Loss is now available on Profound Lore Records. You can listen to it streaming on Spotify, or you can order it on their Bandcamp. You can also follow them at their official website and official Facebook profile.