Embracing the Descent: March 17 – 23, 2019

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We’ve been regular here on Embracing the Descent but for first time visitors or those with short memories and/or attention spans; this is where we briefly discuss a handful of the current week’s new releases that stood out for whatever reason. We say handful since going all in for 40 – 60 albums just ain’t happening. Since that brief reminder is out of the way, let’s jump into a few from this week and don’t forget to check out the full listing from Monday’s Initial Descent. And do leave us a comment if you have thoughts or gripes.

Sigils - You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves

Intensely personal is one way to describe Sigils’ debut You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves. The story behind it is one of heartbreak over a set of circumstances that we unfortunately hear about way too often, there’s a lot more to it than that of course but at its bones this is where the band is coming from. Instead of staying away, Salvatore Rex and Tom Colello decided it was too important to share experiences via their haunting doom metal and the result is four tracks of highly emotional music that is melancholic in nature but soars with an ethereal haze. Much like contemporaries Pallbearer and YOB, Sigils, for 36 minutes, finds that tumultuous spot in your soul and fills it with comfort but also speaks to the bodily circuits that crave the kind of slow burn heaviness that really good doom metal provides. For example; “Faceless” creeps up like a demon awaiting the right time to surface during a ouija board session then hits like a destructive possession when unleashed, closer “The Wicked, The Cloaked” is a 14 minute powerhouse of the entire color wheel of emotions – which is a simple way of saying just how powerful it drives the album home. The experiences behind, and journey to, this album, obviously, were both painful and fraught with negativity but the way Sigils draws you into their story is where this album succeeds, the massive heartfelt doom doesn’t hurt either.

High Reeper - Higher Reeper

“Doom and Sabbath is a great way to go” said High Reeper back in 2016 when they formed and in 2017 when they released their self titled debut. And for the most part it was a good idea on said debut but overall it lacked direction and staying power. This has been shored up on second effort Higher Reeper and with the exception of the direct Sabbath worship on “Foggy Drag” this album flat out rocks. Sure the spirits of Iommi and Butler are there in the heavy guitar / bass attack but this album is so much more energetic (“Eternal Leviathan” and “Bring the Dead”) and memorable (riffs of “Barbarian”) than their previous effort. Although apocalyptic in nature, the album oozes a 70s biker flick feel: days spent on the road with nothing but asphalt in front and busted bar rooms behind. As far as direction, Higher Reeper feels like the band figured out that rocking hard and keeping their feet firmly planted in doom’s classics is where they should be. If this sounds like a good time – it is – grab a bourbon or a High Life and enjoy the soundtrack.

the owls are not what they seem feral blood

Feral Blood is the fourth full-length album from The Owls Are Not What They Seem, a band that while not necessarily metal, take the same kind of darkness and ceremonial elements as many black metal bands do and apply them to psychedelic ritual music to create something that sounds at once alien and instinctively human.  What begins as formless dark ambient coalesces into hypnotic, droning folk, replete with jaw harp, chimes, violin, didgeridoo, and synth washes.  All these elements are brought together and wrapped up in a sinister atmosphere that is at times truly unsettling; Feral Blood feels like the listener has stepped into a time and place where they are not welcome, yet something deep, something feral in them compels them to stay, to find the meaning in the darkness laid bare before you.  The fact that the vast majority of the album is recorded live lends immediacy to the songs and reinforces the ceremonial nature of Feral Blood.  Fans of any kind of dark music would do well not to pass this over.

sermon - birth of the marvellous

Sometimes a promo knows just what to do to get you to listen.  Birth of the Marvelous is the debut from anonymous UK unit Sermon, and it’s described as a stew of influences ranging from Katatonia, Porcupine Tree, Tool and Schammasch.  That’s a potent mixture, and for the most part (I’m still searching for the Schammasch influence) it’s all there on tracks like “The Descend” and “The Drift” which embody a sharp progressive edge that balances shades of ambient post metal and prog rock.  Whoever is responsible for the vocals has some of the best pipes I’ve heard in this style in a while, and the music holds together well enough to warrant a listen from your ears when it comes out this Friday.

What will YOU be listening to this week? Hit us up, we’d love to know.

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