Friday, 11 March 2016

Inverloch - Distance | Collapsed

(March 4th, 2016, Relapse Records)

For some reason I was never attracted to doom metal (or death / doom metal in this case) classics like early My Dying Bride, Anathema, Paradise Lost, etc. And although I now listen to doom bands that are in some way inspired by those early classics, bands that introduced me to death doom (and its sister genre - funeral doom) were Winter, early Cathedral, Thergothon, Skepticism, Evoken, Esoteric... and the mighty Disembowelment. In fact Disembowelment might be the first death doom band I've ever heard. I still remember the feeling when I first listened to Transcendence into the Peripheral. It was probably the most sombre, depressive, melancholic and haunting music I have encountered until then. It sucked me right into that occult, gloomy underworld and I was stuck on that album for months. And to this day it still remains one of my favourite doom records. Unfortunately this great Australian band disbanded after their only album. Two of the members, Matthew Skarajew and Renato Gallina had a very interesting project after Disembowelment called Trial Of The Bow, which sounded nothing like their former band, and wasn't even a metal band. It was beautifully done ambiental ethno music with a lot of eastern influences, not unlike some Dead Can Dance works. They released one EP, Ornamentation, and one full-lenght Rite of Passage.
   Around 2011 Matthew Skarajew and Paul Mazziotta resurrected Disembowelment under the name d.USK, recruited Ben James on vocals and Mark Cullen on the second guitar and started playing songs off Transcendence into the Peripheral. About a year later a new band was born... Inverloch. Their three song EP Dusk | Subside was released in 2012 on Relapse Records. Since I never got over the fact that this great band from the early 90s fell apart after releasing only one (but magnificent) album, news of a new band with members of Disembowelment evoke some serious emotions in me and my expectations were indeed great. Unfortunately the EP was a bit of a let down. Don't get me wrong, it was a good death doom release, but in my opinion it didn't quite capture the atmosphere and the vibe of that only Disembowelment's full-lenght release from 1993. 
   Now Inverloch's first LP, Distance | Collapsed is here... And did they manage to capture that unique Disembowelment feeling? Yes... They nailed it! And not only that, they, now being older and more experienced, even improved it. Distance | Collapsed has all the ingredients that made Transcendence into the Peripheral such a great album. Their signature, progressive songwriting where slow, heavy parts unexpectedly give way to fast riffing and Mazziotta's unique blast beats, the haunting, brooding and atmospheric guitars, the deep, guttural growls, the immense low frequencies delivered by Chris Jordon on bass and the overall occult and ritualistc ambience of the album are what make Inverloch a true successor to Disembowelment. The production of the album is more polished than the raw, cave-like sound of Transcendece into the Peripheral, but that doesn't make it any less unique or unnatural. The playing is also quite tighter. It is something that is expected by these experienced musicians in this day and age. It still contains enough rawness to satisfy the fans of that specific Disembowelment sound... But what is maybe even more important is that Inverloch isn't just Disembowelment 2... it's a new band, with new members and their further evolution is something we should all embrace. A band should never stay stagnant and should always keep developing, improving, changing and experimenting, and judging by Distance | Collapsed, Inverloch is a band that still has a lot to show us in the future.  

- Luka


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