Inverloch, the Australian death/doom band with Matthew Skarajew (guitar) and Paul Mazziotta (drums) from the ashes of diSEMBOWELMENT, alongside Ben James (vocals), Mark Cullen (guitar) and Tony Bryant (bass), had set out to create what they intended to be a mini-LP. What resulted was “Dusk | Subside”, a dark and grainy old school death/doom EP for the next generation, released on Relapse this April. As much as Inverloch has been compared to diSEMBOWELMENT so far, for understandable reasons, it seems as though it was not the bands intention to continue making a new diSEMBOWELMENT record or they wouldn’t have bothered to change their name. Besides, to tie up all loose ends, they formed d.USK for that; preforming old diSEMBOWELMENT tracks around Europe this summer.
I came into this this EP bright eyed and bushy tailed. Untainted by the history of Skarajew and Mazziotta’s influential album, “Transcendence into The Peripheral” to contend with, I saw “Dusk | Subside” as the new piece of art it was intended to be. Originally intended mini-LP or not. Though the frigid ambience of doom and the cold hand of death seem to be engrained into their very being, the exploration of faster beats, inspired by old school death/thrash and grind and the addition of newer members with fresh ideas just adds to Inverloch’s strong dynamic.
Testing your patients with a speed comparable to watching an oil painting dry, It’s easy to be almost unaware that the first track “Within Frozen Beauty” has even commenced; making you crank up your speakers, just not ensure you’ve not just encountered an electrical calamity. What a clever strategy to get your volume nob cranked up anyways, since if you’re listening to metal at a 6 instead of 11, you’ve clearly been doing it wrong. The subtitle auditory atmospherics carry into a hypnotic tide pool of doom before casting you out into deaths storm, silenced by suffocated and beaten down by the blunt force of the waves, only to cast you aside in the froth as the your mangled body takes in the air, and tastes the salt. The intro/outro riff for this track had been originally written on Oud for Trial of The Bow (Gallina and Skarajew’s dark ambient folk project) but had never been used. The first recording of “Within Frozen Beauty” had been up online under d.USK for a while but was re-recorded with stronger vocals, different arrangements as well as its masterful mixing for “Dusk…Subside”.
Blending the trails of “Within Frozen Beauty” with the ethereal notes of “The Menin Road”, the second track bleeds in flawlessly. Levels of chiming and scraping guitar supported by depressive bass notes flood the senses as James’ vocals crawl up your spine and seize your throat. This track contains a crustier edge on the doom genera like bands such as Amebix, Gallhammer and Skaven have captured, really helping to solidify Inverloch a place in my psyche as more than just some other semi-reformed band.
Holding out on you again, “Shadows Of The Flame” offers no warning as to when it’s going to give up the goods. As with all good things though, it comes to those who wait and as everyone should have forgotten of the concept of time by this point at any rate, damn does this track deliver. Shocking you with waves of blast beats, there’s no triggered peddles here. Paul Mazziotta is a machine at the kit and really builds the dips and curves of “Shadows Of The Flame” accordingly. James’ growling vocals hang over the instrumental composition like a cumulonimbus, approaching with the promise of absolute destruction and disappearing into the ambience of the skyscape without a trace.
Overall, I was very impressed with “Dusk | Subside”. Though I loved the raw crusty vibe, I look forward to seeing what the band can do going back into the studio with the intention to create a full length. This album’s for the underground, sticking with the natural old school ascetics and combining the ambient and heavy harmoniously. Crank that shit to 11. It’s how it’s meant to be heard.