I am blaming it all on My Dying Bride. A Line of Deathless Kings did it again. Once I hear an album by these Brits I am going on a non-stop doom binge. Anything that has the name doom attached to it - stoner, funeral, gothic, dark – as long as the music feels sad, my soul is yearning for it. Such state can last for weeks on end.
San Francisco underground notables Asunder caught me in the right state of mind. Not that I ever have particular difficulty listening to the long doom tracks, but, still, you must feel pretty special to go for a 22 min sojourn first, only to be followed by another 50 min slab of heavy despair.
A Famine has me completely wrapped around Asunder’s collective finger. Starting from afar, tuning the orchestral pit alongside woofing amps, Asunder unveil an awesome display of sheer grief and funeral doom. This is the music where you will either want to off yourself in the end, or come out completely cleansed and reborn. Full with crushing minor descending lines, A Famine goes with lumbering rhythmic steadiness, their ebb and flow positioned somewhere between the heart barely beating and the completely flat monitor line. When you think A Famine is over, it is lifted out of the doldrums by Dino Sommese’s drumming which incredibly reaches into a double bass territory to allow the composition to say its final goodbye.
Billy Anderson’s (Neurosis, High on Fire) analog recording is very warm and clear. One of the unique Asunder touches is Jackie Perez-Gratz playing cello on this recording. Adding both melody and tenderness, these cello lines sometimes sound like an oboe or clarinet. Often they run against moaning guitar leads which can veer off melody and even appear a bit out of tune. Asunder vocals are not bottom of the barrel guttural scrapes, and that fits well with the rest of the fold.
Monumental Rite of Finality presents another face of the band. At first, the same serene waves of warmth come over you with the cello leading the way. Asunder and How Like a Winter one more time show that a classical string instrument, if used properly, can be a powerful tool in the hands of a doom band. The warm waves, however, run into a wavebreaker, in the form of a crushing slowdown, guitar leads bordering on dissonance and overall horror atmosphere. Compared to A Famine, Rite of Finality is a much darker affair on the whole. Then, somewhere midway through the song, Asunder does a 180 degree turnaround changing from funeral doom to an ambient drone. Hollow eerie silence lasts way too long with the amps coming back to life in a pulsating chug only towards the very end, subliminal shamanic whispers in the background. This is way too SunnO))) for me, way too elitist and somehow completely canceling the despair feeling of the first 40 – 45 min. Perhaps, there is an explanation where after being squashed the band allows the listener to drift out for 20 – 25 min. I simply did not mind to wallow in my own misery a little more.
Strong effort, it will be interesting to see if other doom fans, more knowledgeable than yours truly, will also have a split opinion of the dichotomy presented on Works Will Come Undone. Whatever their opinion, I can completely recommend the excellent funeral doom part of the album. Just keep those razor blades, nooses and other self-maiming objects away.
Killing Songs :
|Alex quoted 77 / 100|
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