Juicy heavy darkness here from Gravetemple, the experimental power trio of key Sunn O))) man Stephen O’Malley, terrifying Sunn O))) and Mayhem vocalist Attila Csihar, and all-round sound wizard Oren Ambarchi. Impassable Fears is a welcome return, a record that throbs with ferocious metallic power and sharp minimalist sonic details. CD / LP editions on Svart.
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Gravetemple is a project that is now 10 years old, yet this is the first I’m hearing of the grumbling sludgers and wow look at that, it’s a supergroup - Stephen O’Malley’s found another thing to make loud noises over, totally shrouding the drums of chair salesman Oren Ambarchi’s kit while twisted MC Attila Csihar crows over the top. Black / Doom isn’t far off!
This is their 3rd album, first on vinyl, and first since 2009. I guess they’ve all been pretty busy summoning demons here and there, which takes a lot of time away from normal life things let alone auxiliary bands. With a deep amp rumble like a thunderclap, they’re back, and the darkness is real. Colossal slithering guitar tones and crackling distant drums usher in the apocalypse while Attila cackles with laughter. I think he’s mostly laughing at how quiet they’ve turned down Ambarchi on this one, which is a bit unfair on the guy but I guess they’re going for a sort of black metal aesthetic so it comes with the territory. There are also synths and mellotrons on here?? If you say so, Randall Dunn.
Bizarrely this wasn’t mastered by Mell Dettmer, it was actually done by dance music controller Matt Colton at Alchemy which is also a strange choice. He’s done a great job, I mean, it sounds like a dark cloud of moody mess, which is the point, right? No point in cleaning it up like a Scuba beat. This ain’t no Trivium. Oh, I just found the synths, they’re on the second side, providing a dissonant but lighter interlude amidst the total chaos of this LP. If you like your metal sounding like a crumbling wind tunnel then go for this.
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