I obviously haven't posted in a long time (not that anyone except the bots would notice), but here are mini-reviews of two releases that have left very different, but strong impressions in recent months.
The music on Bloodiest's self-titled LP takes form from the shadows, and by the time you notice it standing before you, it has lulled you into sinister hypnosis. Subtle drops of sound echo through vast chasms that bring Horseback's heady, misty landscapes to mind. Restrained, disarming guitar riffs and basslines cut from Tool's cloth wind their way in and out of the picture, gaining dominance as they are propelled gradually toward crescendos by compositions that patiently inhale and exhale with increasing malice. The building, claustrophobic tension does not break easily, however, making it much more impactful when the drums and throat are unleashed, for example, to finish "Broken Teeth". Still, it's not entirely surprising to learn from articles elsewhere that Bloodiest do not consider their music to be primarily metal. The ambient sensibility of Dead Can Dance comes through as much as more obvious comparisons like The Atlas Moth or Yob, making this music fascinating, absorbing and oddly unsettling.
Sydney's Burlap sound like they're right on the edge of collapse. Burnout King is dirty, depraved, deranged, self-destructive noise rock done right. Hugely oppressive bass, possibly being played lying down in the corner of a room, eyes rolled right back, is forced conscious by the lethargic but insistent pounding of drums. Miserable, antagonistic guitar lines torment at will from a little further away. Everything keeps falling further behind everything else and discordance is thrown around like monkey shit. Spiteful rants about disaffection and isolation are grunted and snarled a-la David Yow and Pissed Jeans, but driven deeper into bitter self-deprecation by rabid, throat-shredding bellowing. And thankfully, notwithstanding all of the cliched garbage I have just written in the lines above, Burlap manage to pull all of it off sounding original and surprisingly dynamic. A snorter of a record.