The Alone Rush, the fifth LP Wrekmeister Harmonies have served up for Thrill Jockey, is the first that sees the band take to the stage as duo. The group’s miserabilist-in-chief J. R. Robinson now comes with Esther Shaw in tow as an official member. Helped wby several guest spots from Swans bloke Thor Harris, the group make music as brooding and intense as anything in the band’s catalogue to date. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’s cinematic abstractions come to mind, as does Ellis's old fling The Dirty Three.
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At one point or another in the history of time, Wrekmeister Harmonies were a weird and sorta tasteful metal band serving up orchestration and drone like they were lurking demons in an earthly dimension of hell. In 2018, the project submits to a modern rule: if it can be made to sound pretty much exactly like Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, it will be made to sound pretty much exactly like Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.
‘The Alone Rush’ is gothic dust rolling along the gothic plains, spectral guitars and storytelling that focuses more on the brood of the voice than the tale to be told. There’s no atmosphere more deserving of the Wrekmeister ire, in all honesty: JR Robinson and Ether Shaw create a world on which to ruminate, occasionally bellowing down on their dour slowcore strums with the thrust of their old doom metal; after two gorgeous, plaintive guitar pieces, they descend with “Behold! The Final Scream”, built on horror house synths and crusty feedback. It leads back into the gothic folk soundscaping like a fugue, as if it never happened.
It’s easy to get on board with a Wrekmeister reboot when they seem to be able to master every onsetting corner of dread; using the template of Dirty Three’s cyclic post-rock on ‘Ocean Songs’ and a whole lot of Cave’s grandstanding, this record comes out revolting and reverent, sounding like it was made by two spiteful Gods glancing down on the world they’ve made. I hold my breath listening to it, fretful I'm in for a smiting.
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- The Alone Rush by Wrekmeister Harmonies
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