Wednesday, 15 March 2017

11 IS ONE LOUDER: Iowan atmospheric doom trio Aseethe discuss their Top 5 doom (sort of) records

By: Brian Barr, Eric Diercks
& Danny Barr

Thrill Jockey Records continue to bolster the impressive heavy end of their roster in 2017 with the latest LP from Iowa trio Aseethe. “Hopes of Failure” sounds destined to follow in the footsteps of label mates Sumac and The Body and bother many an end of year list come Christmas time.

Over the course of four lengthy tracks the band entrances the listener with their distinct brand of bleak doom. “Hopes of Failure” is sparse and minimal yet packed with detail and intricacies, like Yob and Unearthly Trance, Aseethe’s compositions are stripped of their psychedelic tendencies to let the raw oppressive riffs do the talking. Vocally things are kept to a minimum, carefully deployed when necessary for maximum impact such as the pained howls that accompany the snail-paced downward spiral into misery at the climax of “Barren Soil”. In part Aseethe eschew vocals entirely on, instead relying on aggressive riffage that slowly degenerates into a jerky discordant locked groove reminiscent of Harvey Milk at their most awkward.

On “Hopes Of Failure”, Aseethe have crafted a slow-burning masterpiece that reveals more with each listen. Every spin increases the pull of its hypnotic spell and leaves you with no option but to submit to its crushing power.  Today we have invited Brian Barr, Eric Diercks & Danny Barr, better known as Aseethe to choose their Top 5 doom albums as we take our weekly trip into the extreme, by cranking it to 11.  Why do we go to 11,  because “It’s one louder, isn’t it?”

1). Neurosis – ‘Through Silver and Blood'

“Through Silver in Blood” was a game changer for all three of us. This album is the soundtrack to the apocalypse. It’s dark, epic, abrasive and beautiful from start to finish. In my opinion there isn’t an album that is more poignant in its catharsis. I could probably spend the rest of my music career trying to achieve this level of craft.

2). Mare‘EP S/T’

The writing on this EP is masterful. The discordant chords and amazing riffs carry this entire record. I try to follow the changes in some of the riffs, only to get lost in them. The vocals are both hellish and beautiful. The drums and bass are well done, and compliment the guitar work perfectly. Still hoping they eventually release a follow up.

3). Switchblade – ‘S/T 2009’

This album gets a lot of play in the van. The music is 1 piece divided into 3 parts. “Less is More” is the mantra used by the band, and it is especially apparent on this album. The guitar and bass utilize little gain, instead relying on resonance and sustain to create atmosphere and tension. A minimalist approach to writing adds to its bleakness. They only bring in the fuzzed-out doom in certain key sections for the pay off. It is like Khanate with structure, without much emphasis on the vocals.

4). Examination of the… - ‘The Whitest of Elephants’

These guys started out as a hardcore band, then put out this record. Unfortunately, this ended up being their last release. Personally, it’s one of my favorite records of all time, and I wish someone would give it the vinyl treatment. Recorded by Kurt Ballou, it has the catharsis of Converge combined with the sonic leanings of Neurosis. The album just sounds big and distorted. The drum work alone is some of the best writing I have heard on a doom record. It’s amazing to me that more people don’t talk about this record, because it is fantastic! A definite sleeper.

5). PG. 99 - “Document 7”

What, a PG. 99 record? Besides some fast moments, this album is mostly a slow dirge, only a group like PG. 99 could accomplish. Once again it almost flows as one continues piece. The riffs are discordant and repetitive, with slow building changes. It’s like floating in the ocean, with the churning waves crashing into you.

It was hard for all 3 of us to agree on 5 records, so here are a few honorable mentions:

Will Haven“El Diablo” & “WHVN”
Ocean“Pantheon for the Lesser”
Black Boned Angel - “Verdon”
Khanate“Things Viral”
Isis“Mosquito Control EP”

“Hopes of Failure” is available to buy/preorder here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook