Sunday, 24 January 2016

Nonsun - "Black Snow Desert" (Album Review)

By: Mike Wilcox

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 06/01/2016
Label: Independent



There is a unique quality to the music of Nonsun, one that keeps it drone and breaks that mould all at once.  At various points in the album, halfway through “Observing the Absurd” for example, there is a breakdown of sorts, things go quiet…quieter at least…and there is a dynamic that is volleyed between the guitar and the percussion.  It doesn’t divert from the path the song and album are forging, but offers a different look at it.  Furthermore, an intrinsic quality of Nonsun is that the songs feel as though they are created in a realm beyond time.

Black Snow Desert” CD//DD track listing:

1). No Pity for the Beast, No Shelter for the Innocent
2). Ashes of Light, Demons of Justice
3). Crystal Empty
4). Peace of Decay, Joy of Collape
5). Heart’s Heaven Burden
6). Observing the Absurd
7). Rest of Tragedy

The Review:

Finding the space to listen to Nonsun’s “Black Snow Desert in one sitting has been rather hard to accomplish.  I’m in love with the music, there’s no question about that, but the sheer length of the tracks in this dual CD album release make it such that a full listening is hard to accommodate.  It’s absolutely worth it, though.  In an effect that sounds like a mix between drone lords, Sunn 0))), experimental duo, Nadja, and some hint of a Mogwai style post-rock, the tracks simply blend into a single all encompassing dark mass that surrounds you, filling empty space until it consumes you entirely.  And you welcome it.

While this is the first full length release by Nonsun, comprised of its two members, Goatooth and Alpha, real names Bohdan Kozub and Andrii, the duo made waves in the drone/doom world with two prior EP’s, both to good reception.  The recent full length, “Black Snow Desert”, has a more evolved, mature feel to it.  Thundering swells of guitar and bass emanate from Goatooth while the rhythm from Alpha is patiently strung along, walking each slow and deliberate step with him, a seemingly herculean effort considering the slow trudge with which this music churns onward.  He does it with an exquisite perfection.  Each percussive note complimenting its guitar and bass counterpart in an endless macabre dance…and you can’t help but wonder what comes next…

As the collection of songs on disc one are taken out with a wall of feedback and noise, “Heart’s Heavy Burden” starts up almost without notice.  Immediately shaping the sonic space around you the track tells a story.  The genius of this brand of music is that the listener is privy to their own thoughts and conditioning and decides for themselves if it is a tale of harrowing hope, or a tale of desperation and loss.  Both work, and extremely well at that.  Experimental noise elements, shrieking strings and shrill feedbacks accompany the now more present rhythms and you are taken through the second half of the journey.  Similar to disc one, the tracks on disc two blend together seamlessly allowing for the continuation of the concept the listener has built from the beginning.  “Observing the Absurd” evokes the feeling of Sunn 0))), but with it’s own stylistic elements.  While Nonsun surely have influences this is original work, and I wouldn’t mind them continuing on their own personal exploration as such.  

There is a unique quality to the music of Nonsun, one that keeps it drone and breaks that mould all at once.  At various points in the album, halfway through “Observing the Absurd” for example, there is a breakdown of sorts, things go quiet…quieter at least…and there is a dynamic that is volleyed between the guitar and the percussion.  It doesn’t divert from the path the song and album are forging, but offers a different look at it.  Furthermore, an intrinsic quality of Nonsun is that the songs feel as though they are created in a realm beyond time.  A 15 minute song passes within what feels like a mere few minutes.   As the mammoth volume that is “Black Snow Desert closes out with “Rest of Tragedy” the listener’s loose ends, if any, are met and they are taken just a step further than before, a nod past the lull they have crooned you into, a step into the void.  The album closes out with a static-y feedback and a drone wash that trails off whispering its sweet insanities as it goes.

A mammoth and extraordinarily well crafted effort from Nonsun, “Black Snow Desert is certainly a must for any avid drone/doom fan.  Fans of the above mentioned as well as similar would do well to check this release out too.  This is Nonsun’s territory and they want you to join them in it.  With “Black Sun Desert, what’s stopping you?... 

Black Snow Desert” is available here

Band info: bandcamp | facebook

No comments: