New Birmingham record label Clobber are releasing some interesting stuff… just remember to turn the light on when listening. To describe the split release from Absinthropy and Ecuador miserabilists Salix Babylonica as dark barely does justice to the inherent evil that resides within this half-hour slab of aural austerity.
Leamington Spa pair Absinthropy are responsible for the first three tracks, White charged with all instrumental work leaving his partner in audio crime Fowler free to concentrate on vocals. Absinthropy explore the inner recesses of the mind, delving deep into the murky corners that most people don’t even know they have, and almost certainly wouldn’t want to visit even if they did.
Their first asinine attack comes in the form of ‘Crescent Hooks Above Twilight Gardens’ and carries with it an unmitigated sense of desperation and despair. The constant throbs help escalate the fear factor before the whole thing implodes in a rush of riffs.
Much pacier is the mysteriously titled ‘A.N.T.S.S.A.T.B.F.’ which mixes blitzkrieg bastbeats, some searing riffwork and a demonic volley of vocals, broken at the midway point by by a cold voice saying ‘it’s when you start to dream about good things that you should start to worry’ before an almighty chug of black magic asserts with vocals now reaching full on throat-scratchers tearing at your senses like a wounded crow clawing for survival.
Absinthropy’s third track ‘Sylvia’ is a re-recording of their long out of print Shivers Of Apathy EP. This is a different demographic entirely, a more lavish soundscape, energetic and melancholic, yet still coated with an undeniable layer of menace and misery in the finest traditions of Black Metal.
It would be an oxymoron to suggest that Salix Babylonica take funeral doom duo to new heights, new depths being a more accurate description. The inherent cloak of loss sits heavily across both the tracks created by the Ecuadorian doom duo with little light to ease unsettling whispers and strange sounds from the shadows.
The music of Salix Babylonica comes wrapped in deathly palour. While fleeting soft female vocals offer some respite on ‘She’s Back’ it’s the ghostly chain-jangling of the main vocal contribution that sets the mood, and a grim one it is too. Having meandered through the first few waves, Salix Babylonica then up the stakes with a rapier twist towards the end.
‘Dead Birds of the City’ is a much more morose affair, dragging the South Americans towards monolithic doom, a cold chiller of a stomp that fills the room with an icy sonic slab which eventually gives way to a more asinine attack, although the vocals remain defiantly slow even as the riffs gather steam.
Clobber Records are working with some interesting performers, and while darkness tends to be the uniting force, they deserve to have the spotlight turned on them all the same.
Reviewed by Paul Castles
Released via Clobber Records on April 12
- Absinthropy – Crescent Hooks Above Twilight Gardens
- Absinthropy – A.N.T.S.S.A.T.B.F.
- Absinthropy – Sylvia MMXVIII
- Salix Babylonica – She’s Back
- Salix Babylonica – Dead Birds in the City