Tuesday, 9 May 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Mouth of the Architect - "Time and Withering"

By: Josh Nichols


Album Type: Full Length (Reissue)
Date Released: 12/05/2017
Label: Translation Loss



Each new Mouth of the Architect release is my new soundtrack to oblivion, but revisiting “Time and Withering” is definitely worth your effort.  It has held up over time and is still as big and bold as it was 13 years ago.

“Time and Withering” DD//LP track listing:

1). A Vivid Chaos
2). Soil to Stone
3). Heart Eaters
4). The Worm

The Review:

After 13 years, 5 full length LP’s and numerous line up changes, Mouth of the Architect have survived to remaster and re-issue their first album, “Time and Withering”, for a vinyl treatment. I’m not sure why they chose the 13th anniversary for this auspicious occasion, but given their current “three year per album” rate of production, this reissue is a welcome windfall coming only 8 months after their previous effort, “Path of Eight.” It also provides a great opportunity to see where MotA have come from and examine the threads that hold their entire catalogue together.

There have always been areas of overlap throughout their body of work. The way they carefully build and layer a song together, each new layer drawing on another emotion, sometimes destroying itself in release, sometimes taking the listener hostage. “Time and Withering” is where that body of work begins, with four massive tracks of gloomy sludgy post metal.  Describing the ins and outs of tracks like “A Vivid Chaos” and “The Worm” don’t do the work justice because there are just so many ins and outs per track.  Each MotA production evokes a mood that takes the listener on various twists and turns. The mood of “Time and Withering” drifts between somber and fragile to hugely aggressive and furious.  The vocals throughout, when they are present, are a shredded and tortured blend of dark whispers and all out rage, much in the classic Neurosis style, lulling you to an uneasy slumber before eviscerating that fragile niche they had carefully carved out.

In contrast, MotA definitely throttled back on the sludge and aggression with “Path of Eight” leaning more toward a pensive and progressive sound throughout, along with mostly clean singing. The beast still slips the leash on tracks like “Sever the Soul” and “Stretching Out”.  That isn’t to say that those moments can’t be found on “Time and Withering”, but that the whole feel throughout is just more foreboding and brutal. Not knowing exactly when the caustic pot is going to boil over may be what ties everything MotA has ever done together.  They may choose to grab a riff for 6 to 10 minutes, while building a Russian Circles worthy soundscape around it, just to let the tension build. Maybe it dissolves without a whimper or maybe it goes full berserker, until you’re sure they have nothing left to give.  Then they create a whole new tapestry. Each new Mouth of the Architect release is my new soundtrack to oblivion, but revisiting “Time and Withering” is definitely worth your effort.  It has held up over time and is still as big and bold as it was 13 years ago.

“Time and Withering” is available here (Digital) and here (Vinyl)





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