Hypertension Records concludes their The Abyss Stares Back series with the fifth and final release featuring a unique collaboration between Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Mathieu Vandekerckhove (Syndrome/Amenra) and Colin H Van Eeckhout (Amenra/CHVE). Although the previous four albums were proper splits (including bands like Hessian, Primitive Man and Nihill), this album is introduced as one 20-minute representation of brilliant minds coming together to create a composition rooted in both absence and presence. Thus ultimately calling themselves and their work, Absent In Body. Continue reading
An utterly fearful twenty minutes lies in wait for anyone daring to trip into Descending Flesh (Hypertension), the second full-length from Belgian blusterers VVovnds. That’s right: twenty minutes. So it’s Grind, right? Nope…
It isn’t a million miles away, of course – how could it not be? – but, whilst rampant and occasionally pensive, this vicious brand of Hardcore is infected with a slurring, viperous Sludge which sees ultra-quick tracks given an ever-so-slight dab on the brakes; such as the breakneck ‘A La Lanterne’ whose slashing Punk riffs are touched by a swamp-dipped groove, so minutely slower that it takes a second to register. ‘Golgotha’s horrific, Doom-laden morass is the vantage point of some terrifying roars from vocalist Jenci Vervaeke, aided by a monstrously reverberating production and the alarming, crushing speed of a nevertheless euphoric coda.
Here, despite the oft-derided flashing pace in evidence, is the Thinking Man’s pummel. One of only two tracks to crack the three-minute mark, ‘The Light’s sinister crawl sees that mix really come into its own: drums and cymbals full and brutal yet carrying razors on the back of the fizzing riffs, while Vervaeken’s yelping screams evoke images of Colin van Eeckhout having an even more traumatic day. The unfettered ferocity of ‘Coins’ is reined toward the close by a febrile yet barely-controlled climax, frantically trying to explode yet contained and subsequently pregnant with tension, while the singular screams toward the centrepoint of ‘Equality In Death’ are both nauseous and gripping.
This is, of course, a suitable length for such largely unflinching earache; the third quarter of the album seeming to grow a little uninspired if still excitable. However a quick return to form sees ‘Maleficia’ resemble a particularly unclean Pig Destroyer, while the snaking, squealing closer ‘Peine Forte’ does briefly and periodically have its leash lengthened, being supremely dictated by a lead riff and Pieter Blancke’s resonating drums.
Ultimately, anyone who worships at the altar of hideous, rapid outpourings would get a pleasurable bite from this, a particularly apt expression of the anger, pain and feverish agitation many of us are feeling after this weekend’s events.