Written by: The Administrator
Blackened industrial doom metal isn't a sonic environ this particular scribe frequents with regularity. Sometimes, however, one feels the urge to conquer the unknown and descend directly into the bowels of the underworld. And so here we are, amongst the brimstone and the inferno, with Son of Seth assuming the role of psychopomp as we meander ever downwards.
While genre labels are easy to throw around, what Son of Seth actually sounds like is a remarkably ever-evolving affair across the 26 minutes constituting De Dor A Odio. Intro track "Tortured Sight" begins with some noise-ridden atmospherics, an ominous and cinematic soundscape that is pulled apart by the thunderous arrival of what I can only imagine as a behemothian kaiju. And then it’s off to the races as the tortured vox emerge from the fray. While carrying themselves with a certain blackened bite, the vocal delivery reminds me more of something dredged from the world of harsh noise--add some overt pitch modulation, and you've got a mechanical vibe akin to something from Marijuana Deathsquads. But make no mistake: this is a calculatedly spooky affair, heavy on the atmosphere and bituminous ambience. The industrial influences shine through, resulting in an organically mechanized soundscape that practically begs for accompanying HR Giger illustration.
“Festering Chains” amps up the drama, utilizing contrasting vocal styles to establish a sense of perpetual unease. This juxtaposition between throbbing demonic harsh tirades and ethereal choral cleans from the non-existent mouths of biblically accurate angels is a clever way to maintain balance. The title track, which serves as the centerfold, is a little gentler in scope, but this descriptor only applies in the very specific case of this project. In any other context, the oppressive backdrop and squealing noise and hellish howls would be overwhelming, but here, “De Dor A Odio” is an odd moment of respite. This track isn’t an example of abject torture in the pits of Tartarus. Rather, this is a stroll through the Asphodel Meadows.
Violence reemerges, however, in the following two tracks–De Dor A Odio certainly ramps up in the back half. “Tombs of Reckoning” leans heavily on the sheer power of the harsh vocals while instrumentation takes a back seat, whereas “Epitome of Silence” takes the opposite approach. The track title is a bit of a misnomer here–indeed, this fifth and final song showcases a fully realized industrial drone approach, complete with omnipresent noise and shrill hammer-on-anvil punctuations. Here, the vocals sit quite comfortably in the mix, and, after a short time, begin to feel like an element of the instrumentation itself. There’s a strange swell to this track, and as it hits its peak, there’s a definite sense of closure. While the elements utilized across the breadth are numerous, this closing number does a fine job at summing up the overall project. That alone is an impressive feat.
Son of Seth is sitting on something very special here. While not the most immediately listenable, De Dor A Odio is a perfect example of a project that only becomes more immersive the more time you spend with it. These five tracks paint a picture of a vivid and unsettling environment, and while the immersive voyage is inevitably difficult–and perhaps even frightening–it is absolutely worthwhile. I’ve spent a lot of time with Son of Seth this past week, and I anticipate revisiting De Dor A Odio in days and months to come. That implicit staying power isn’t insignificant, and frankly, my only criticism is that the damn thing is over so soon. Needless to say, if you demonstrate even moderate interest in noise, blackened industrial, and/or spooky soundscapes, I absolutely recommend checking this one out.
Son of Seth - De Dor A Odio was released Feb. 11th via Trepanation Recordings. Find it here!
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.