On the precipice of its second wave, a particular factor began to make itself more and more relevant to the emerging subgenre of black metal. Bands like Beherit in Finland or Xantotol in Poland were hellbent on deconstructing metal to its most primal, evil roots. The recording “budgets” basically started in the red, forcing the bands to record everything in a take or two and fueling the organic sounding, evil drenched atmospheres that are now regarded as cult classics. In Sweden, Abruptum sought to entirely deconstruct this approach, removing the metal (and, arguably, the musicality) behind this approach, forging chaotic, sinister soundscapes of ritualistic noise.
In the modern era, bands continue to utilize elements of Abruptum’s style to their sound, including Ride For Revenge, Summum, and the subject of today’s premiere, Black Earth. Following up their 2015 debut, A Cryptic Howl Of Morbid Truth and 2016’s mini-album, Diagrams Of A Hidden Order with their sophomore full-length, Gnarled Ritual Of Self Annihilation, Black Earth seek to make their own dark mark on the unholy sanctimony of black noise.
And gnarled it is indeed. While the first (and only prior released) track, “Doctrines Of Dissociation” largely projects as an introduction to the elements at play on the album, the second, “Abject Practices Beyond The Threshold” utilizes the tool set laid out upon the altar of its predecessor to begin the construction of the ritual at hand. The drums pump a heartbeat of labored adrenaline beneath the slow, constricting fog of static strums as the bass finds a hypnotic pulse of pure tri-tone evil. In fact, the real key here is the slow repetitive nature of the rhythm section embodying the essence of ritualistic practice – this is not just abject noise but a consecrated act caught on record, building tension with auditory ceremonial aesthetic. It’s the small changes that keep the track moving through it’s twisted corridors of unspeakable terror, the seemingly displaced samples of clattering chains and what sounds to be barks of rabid canines find a home amongst the rasped vocals as the music constructs and expands and….
…ends. The track obviously leads into the next, but where are Black Earth taking their listeners? The only way to find out is to check the full album, which will be available on Sentient Ruin Laboratories (US LP edition) and Cyclic Law (EU LP and CD editions) on September 27.