Angela puts in her first pick for Album of the Month, and joins Ian, Vincent, and Hera while Buke captains the episode. This time the group dissects the roiling turmoil that is As I Cast Ruin Upon the Lens That Reveals My Every Flaw, the second full length from Cavernlight. After that it’s the usual discourse around what else everyone has been listening to since last getting (virtually) together to chat.
Dig in and enjoy this, the 140th episode of The Nine Circles Audio Thing.
Industrial music is pliable and can be bent to the will of whatever artist wields its power. Ministry made it a rock ‘n’ roll hot rod, Godflesh made it a religion, Fear Factory made it a metal mainstay, and so on and so forth. To me, the real success of industrial music is if it has the ability to paint a horrid, twisted landscape in the mind’s eye and offer an unsettling feeling to go with it. Over the course of the past decade and a cavalcade of releases, Lament Cityscape has sharpened their sound in such a way that it does exactly that on new album A Darker Discharge. Imagine being on the sidelines for world destruction then venturing out to witness twisted steel, crumbling facades, a populous decimated, and having the insurmountable feeling of what life will look like while knowing any sort of remaining life cycle will be short and probably impossible. Captivating is an understatement and the fact that mainman Mike McClatchey approaches this thing with body horror in mind makes it all the more terrifying. This is one of the best culminations of noise, sludge, and industrial metal to blaze through our ears in quite some time but also one of the most anchored to modern day atrocities as can be. We recently posed our set of Profile questions to Mike and below we present his responses. While you’re here, hit the links contained within to secure your own copy.
Recently I created a new playlist featuring what has fast become my go-to genre when I need to bear down and get some serious groove on: the luscious low-end of stoner rock and metal (Spotify users are welcome to it here; Apple Music users can find it here). Throw some psych elements in and I’m an even happier camper. We don’t feature nearly enough of it her at Nine Circles; all too often the staff are mired in extreme noise and suffocatingly depressive odes to inner turmoil – and that’s perfectly fine…if that’s your thing. Lately it’s not mine; I’d rather get a nasty fuzzed to the heavens riff in my brain accompanied by sweet-ass vocal melodies and anthemic choruses I can shout along to as I air-guitar until my arthritic wrists cry out for reprieve.
So for this edition of Nine Circles ov… let’s highlight some of the boogie down rifftastic stoner and psychedelic rock and metal that’s all the rage in my frontal lobe, shall we?
Wisconsin natives and sludge/doom metal lords Cavernlight have returned after five long years with a stellar sophomore release—As I Cast Ruin Upon The Lens That Reveals My Every Flaw. If you are already familiar with this band, you know that they do not skimp on album titles. As this release’s poetic title suggests, the album is full of angsty darkness that is sure to appeal to neurodivergent metal fans such as myself. While the tunes are crushingly heavy, there is a catharsis to it resulting in a beautifully expressive album which will resonate with many listeners. As I Cast Ruin… brings everything Cavernlight offered in their debut while expanding on soundscapes and programming created movements. There are no dull moments and many unique compositions to make this album one-of-a-kind and an excellent continuation of the band’s journey.
This is why metal can be so exciting. This is why, at their best (which admittedly can be rare) metal fans are a breed apart, never content to stick to the mainstream path, always finding the hidden corners and crevices where great music is being created. I don’t know if you normally think of New Zealand as a hotbed of metal activity, particularly for sludge and doom, but one listen to They Seek My Head, the debut from Wellington band End Boss has me thinking there’s something in the water and we should all be paying attention.