Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Dead Black Arms - Lake Reflection Catalyst (Stunned Records CS)
Trying to catch up on these long overdue Stunned numbers since I finally have more than a minute to give a couple reviews their due. Feel like Stunned always deserves its due too, what with their exceptional releasing prowess and all. Man, sometimes I feel like a wanker for hyping this stuff up so much but every time the material just leaves me crushed... what can I say?
Of course it's the same deal here as well. Dead Black Arms is another moniker of Claus Haxholm, the same man behind The Doom Riot, who did a release on Stunned a ways back if I recall... I remember being into that disc, but this is something different entirely. Two side-long pieces here, and man do they cook. The first one, aptly titled "Lake Reflection Catalyst I," gets thick real quick, and from there on Haxholm works between the lines with long vocal loops (I think) hovering above these mono-note bass thuds and absolutely terrific guitar tirades that somehow manage to keep this whole thing afloat for its entire length. Rather than slip into the overtly doom and gloom aesthetic though this stuff is full of life, ablaze with energy and indescribable detail. Each sound careens about the others like some dark blue mist blanketing the ground, only a couple inches up so's to protect the toads inhabiting its soils. Which isn't to say it isn't heavy as shit--this thing just rolls and rolls ceaselessly, discovering all sorts of pockets within its layers. Beautiful and frightening and completely invigorating.
The following side is (again, fittingly) called "Lake Reflection Catalyst II," and this go around things start a bit more ethereally, with cymbal clatters writhing around one another to the point of sounding like nothing Keith Moon ever played. More like some junkyard gamelan ensemble really, as overtones knead their way across and out in an aimless bevy of textural clatter. Soon though, the cymbal clatter begins to hurdle into a less airy space as percussive thumps begin to bleed in to a slowly developing and ultra-stark underbelly that writhes like some intangible worm in the sky. Really tough to pin down this stuff as its entire sound evolves so slowly and with such textural dexterity that it all meshes into this strange organic collage the parts of which are always slipping, resituating themselves, and slipping apart again. When the underbelly does finally come to the fore it is perhaps a tad more menacing than might have been hoped for, but at halfway through the twenty-minute track the arrival is so steady that it's hardly unexpected. Just to have arrived to the destination--even if its at the foot of some cavernous gulch--is accomplishment enough.
It's a dense and beautiful sound presented here, and one that's sure to be dug by Dead C, Skullflower, Michael Flower and Metal Rouge heads alike. When the end slips into a near destructo-raga melody it sees the album off in a fittingly relaxed and well deserved row boat. You might be on the same waters, but the tide is finally out. Though hints of the foreboding weather are still on the horizon for sure... totally killer.