Welcome to ON THE HORIZON, our relentlessly infrequent feature wherein we discuss upcoming albums that have caught our sleep-encrusted eyes. Always on the lookout for the next best thing to wake us from slumber.
After reviewing last year’s excellent Death Ritual, I wasn’t expecting to see Yatra’s name sprout from the manure-ridden promo pit in such short order. But here we are, with the promise of their forthcoming sophomoric attempt on the ol’ horizon.
Simply put, Yatra’s prior treatise in doom was quite impressive. To quote my overly loquacious self, Death Ritual exudes “a unique character, and for that, it shines in the stygian environs of its own creation...the riffs moves like tepid silt, while drums perform their duties with little flash or braggadocio. Notably, the guitar is oddly comforting--its caliginous persona is so well defined that it takes on a near-physical presence.” While I obviously enjoyed it in the moment, it is worth mention that this album has continued, months and months later, to pull me back into its fuzzy embrace. No small feat, given the quantity of doom we deal with.
Given the joyful tidings of the season, my Scrooge-ian compatriots & I decided it was high time someone injected a little despair into your holiday cheer. Neither entry here is quite representative of a Winter Wonderland, but for the likes of you and me, they’ll certainly serve as a welcome replacement.
VERMINOUS SCUM - S/t EP
This sludgy outfit is an offshoot of The Wizard Union Collective, a stable of musicians who play in groups that remain, if not sonically identical, a part of the same aesthetic fold. If the name feels familiar to long time readers (you belov’d few!) it’s because we previously discussed Ceremonial Smoke, a delightful little EP put together by the Union proper. While the vibe there was dense doom, Verminous Scum takes that template and backfills the riffs until they reach a tar-pit consistency. A mastodon couldn’t escape this sludge--even when the tempo reaches a march, the tone is thick as ever. Samir’s vocals are reminiscent of Ceremonial Smoke’s death growl, but here, he has truly reached the pinnacle of aggression. Add in some hooky vocal refrains--try Buried Under the Porch on for size--& you’ve got three tracks that demand repetition. I can’t truly recommend one over the other, so check em’ all out.
NAVIŪM - Into The Bowels of Emptiness
Grab a seat by the fire that Naviūm has started, take off your saliva-sodden boots, & revel in the depressive atmosphere of the bowels. These hooded black metalers are extreme in their DSBM ambiance, but provide an attuned dedication to contemplative passages. Take the “whisper-howl into the void” vocal stylings, which complement the guitars in constructing a wonderfully harrowing progression. Bass is tastefully present, which gives Naviūm a solid grounding in an ethereal plane of depressive existence. For a complete picture, I recommend Eternal. This track has it all--noisy aggression, mournful wails, & the emotional intensity this particular brand of black so gleefully exemplifies. As an album, it feels like it would benefit from another hefty track in the vein of Vultures to even out the pseudo-acoustic levity, but all told, crawling Into The Bowels of Emptiness is very much worth your while.
Verminous Scum and Naviūm can both be found on Bandcamp
Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry