It’s always a good day when a trustworthy label comes at you with two pretty diverse recordings that could fit any number of different moods. That’s come as a blessing in disguise this week as shit has gone from me needing something that makes me want to drop a cement mixer on people to stretches where all I want to do is zone out.
Gilead Media, you’ve heard us talk about that label before, no? It’s one we’re not afraid to say we love alot, and they have a couple of new releases for you that can blacken or mesmerizer you. Adam Bartlett, the mind behind Gilead, never has been one to play it safe or just bombard the shit out of us with records just to see what sticks. Everything his label releases is hand-picked, carefully chosen, and while it might not all seem like it should fit in the same room, at the end of the day, it really does. He has two fests under his belt to prove that. Well, 2015 is going to be a more ambitious year for the label, as Bartlett expects records he’ll release to hit double digits (we have two more in our back pocket for later that’ll melt your fucking world), and he’s getting a nice start with two albums that seem diametrically opposed musically. But that’s fine. Diversity is a good thing.
Up first is a massive slab of doom and sludge from Fórn, a Boston-based band who last year released tidal-waving “The Departure of Consciousness” with Vendetta Records on vinyl. If you’re new to the band, think of something halfway between Morne and Neurosis. Gilead, making a rather odd move for them, stepped up and offered a CD version of the album so that more U.S. fans could get their hands on this hellacious document. Packaged in a heavy duty gatefold jacket with artwork by the great Bryan Proteau, it’s almost like you’re getting a mini vinyl version of the release anyway. That you’ll have to play in an entirely different machine than your LPs. I’m over-explaining. As for the band, it’s a quintet of massiveness, with Chris P. on vocals; Joey and Brandon on guitars; Brian on bass; and Chris D on drums.
“Emergence” kicks off the album with a slow-driving approach, atmospheric and hazy, with a long build. The sludge later arrives, offering the first major blows, and it sets the tone for what’s to come, specifically “Dweller on the Threshold.” There, doom-infested riffs kick down the doors, as the bottom drops out and crushes bodies, and the vocals deliver a mammoth beating. The ferocity is noteworthy and hard to avoid, as shrapnel is sent flying your way, and the track ends with noise boiling over and scathing. “Gates of the Astral Plane” is a standout track at 7:28 and opens with a dark, beastly assault that blends into a slow-boiling fury. The track has a deep sorrow and darkness that reminds a bit of Bell Witch, as the song goes back and forth from somber to absolutely volcanic. It’s one hell of a journey, this track. “Alexithymia” keeps the somber sentiment in the air, as the guitars are darkly melodic, but then the rage breaks the surface. The band gets into a thrashy groove, with noise flooding the area and the pace continually hammering you. “Suffering in the Eternal Void” is reflective and plods along, setting a mood and luring you into the abyss. Just as you start to wander, the whole thing rips open and swallows you up, with massive pounding, elegant guitar work, and throat-mangling howls painting the horrific picture. Then it all fades with “Cerebral Intermission,” a quick, trickling outro piece that finally introduces a dose of calm in what’s otherwise a chaos-filled world Fórn create on this pulverizing album.
For more on Fórn, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Forndoom
The oddball of the two new records come by way of Implodes, who hail from Chicago and have a pair of records out under the Kranky banner. Gilead is offering their new 12-inch effort “Reverser,” a collection that culls together a pair of unreleased tracks from their “Recurring Dreams” sessions, as well as two brand new songs that’ll make your head float. This band deals in fuzzy, drug-dream-atmospherics, and I have spaced out more times than I can count listening to these four tracks. The band—Ken Camden (who also has a noteworthy solo career), Emily Elhaj (a member of Angel Olsen’s and, as well as Mayor Daley), Matt Jencik (live bassist for Slint and Papa M), and Justin Rathell (of El Mejor)—easily glide inside your mind, balancing you on waves of electric stimulation that makes every nerve numb, every sequence of your visit feel like an out-of-body experience. Comparisons are hard to come by, but here’s a lazy one: Had Syd Barrett’s creative era been right now, I can imagine he would come up with something a lot like this.
You should understand right away what makes this band so special when you hear “Out of Reach,” where cold guitars echo, sounds woosh like you’re soaring through outer space, and psychedelic keys offer a sense of total isolation and cosmic claustrophobia. You may trance out at the end, leading headlong into “Lazy Skull” with its reverb-rich noise and glowing, burning guitar lines. The vocals feel ghostly and properly detached, like a buoy bobbing on the surface of a murky sea, with the passage heavily washed out and a thick fog forming in your headspace. Every time I hear this, I feel like all of the elements are levitating and rotating around my head, leaving me reaching out for objects that aren’t actually there. “Don’t Leave the House” has strummed guitars, music spread like a mind-altering coat, and the same style of singing, where it feels like the band’s goal is hypnosis. The guitars are scorched and later simmer, while the presence of trippiness is to be embraced and celebrated. The closing title cut has guitars that roll in from behind the clouds, a collection of melodies that’ll make your head swim, and swirling keys that make me think of lying on the grass in the summer and watching sky formations develop. That sense keeps building and revealing new colors before the whole thing disappears gently and unassumingly.
There you have it, two very different, incredibly satisfying albums that hit quite diverse spots. If you take on both, you can get bulldozed first, then get glazed over with pain medication that’ll leave you feeling alien thrills. Or the other way around. If you choose to only go heavy or fuzzy, you’re still in for a rewarding trip, as both bands deliver the goods and keep you returning for many refills.
For more on Implodes, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Implodes
To buy either album, go here: http://www.gileadmedia.net/store/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.gileadmedia.net/