Following their 2020 Grave of a Dog debut which happened to feature a certain Kristin Hayter (Lingua Ignota), Sightless Pit (duo Lee Buford of The Body and Dylan Walker from Full of Hell) return (sans Hayter) with sophomore release Lockstep Bloodwar (Thrill Jockey).
Both of the aforementioned outfits should be familiar to anyone with even the vaguest of passing interests in the world of harsh yet experimental metal (crushing sludge metal and vicious grindcore respectively). Both the album’s title and gory cover by Godsteeth are laden with visions of violence and horror, and when you take into consideration its participants too, it should not prove too surprising. It is certainly indicative of the music that will potentially follow.
‘Resin on a Knife’ sees the pair collaborating with Midwife (aka Madeline Johnston), mixing the band’s love of dub-influenced beat music with some gorgeous dream-pop / shoegaze atmospherics as well as ethereal vocals. Think Lee Scratch Perry / The Bug meets My Bloody Valentine and The Cocteau Twins and you should get the picture. An absolute gem of an opener. ‘Calcified Glass’ features Boredoms drummer YoshimiO and the late rapper Gangsta Boo (Three 6 Mafia). The track is a wondrous mix of divine ambient electronica, Albert Ayler otherworldly Jazz, and Hip-Hop with some screamed metallic vocals layered over the top. On paper, it sounds like an absolute mess, yet it’s delivered so convincingly that one cannot help but have supreme admiration for what the artists have pulled off here.
‘Flower to Tomb’ is a transitional piece moving from hard-edged Skinny Puppy industrial clanging to almost trip-hop mellowness and sometimes both simultaneously. The vocal performance by Elizabeth Colour Wheel’s Lane Shi Otayonii is what drives the piece though; ranging from terrifying Diamanda Galas shrieks to soulful Amy Winehouse smoky jazz intonations. ‘Lockstep Bloodwar’ manages to be both unsettling and soothing, and as with ‘Resin on a Knife’, the track also utilizes dream-pop / shoegaze melodies but this time combines it with hard techno and Nine Inch Nails electronics to forge a track of stunning contrasts. ‘Low Orbit’ features both Walker’s Full of Hell bandmate Spencer Hazard (Industrial Hazard) and legendary rapper Frukwan (Gravediggaz / Stesasonic) to make the kind of dance track that I wish was played in clubs. It’s funky and feels old-school without seeming dated, even I, with no talent or inclination for dancing, could imagine “getting down” to this one (not that anyone should need to witness that of course).
‘False Epiphany’ (featuring Claire Rousay) features the cool noir Jazz that one would associate with Bohren & Der Club of Gore or any number of artists on the excellent Signora Ward label for that matter. Sultry is a word I would use to describe this track. ‘Shiv’ refers to a prison-fashioned weapon and the track itself is an intimidating dark slab of industrial, with Crownovhornz’ appearance really helping to enhance the sense of menace to proceedings. Meanwhile ‘Morning of a Thousand Lights’ recalls the kind of exciting noise terrorism exercised by outfits such as Petbrick, dälek, and even Deafkids. ‘Futilities’ features Foie Gras who, in her day job plays within the boundaries of America and drones and this concludes the album on a more sombre low-key note. Think Patsy Cline on a latter period Swans or Earth record. Right up my street in other words.
Despite not being a big follower of either of the band members’ day jobs, I was really very surprised with how well the album actually turned out. It captivates throughout by virtue of its sheer diversity and affords for a very engrossing and captivating listen.
Buy the album here:
9 / 10