Wednesday, 6 November 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Rorcal, "Muladona"

By: Eeli Helin

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 08/11/19
Label: Hummus Records

”Muladona” CS//CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. This is how I came to associate drowning with tenderness
2. She drained you of your innocence, and you poisoned her with it
3. I’d done my duty to my mother and father. And more than that, I’d found love
4. A sea of false smiles hiding murder, jealousy, and revenge
5. Carnation were not the smell of death. They were the smell of desire
6. The only constant in this world is blackness of the human heart
7. I was the Muladona’s seventh tale

The Review:

Little did I know how big of a treat I was in for, when I was asked to scribe up the track premiere for the Swiss blackened death/sludge/doom/noise quartet Rorcal earlier this autumn. Prior to that, I recall coming across the band a few times, but never gave them enough attention to fully comprehend what I was ingesting. When the premiere opportunity came along, I quickly and quite profoundly realised how big of a mistake I've made by not really giving the band a chance years earlier. In fact, not doing so proved to be one of the biggest blunder I've made in my entire life, in terms of my music listening habits. The track we premiered over here at THE SLUDGELORD, "A sea of false smiles hiding murder, jealousy and revenge", was so impactful and effective that it plunged me harshly into a very overwhelming Rorcal binge for weeks. Those weeks were full of amazement, awe, and sound-inflicted pleasure that felt otherworldly altogether, and all that time I kept kicking myself for being neglectful towards the band before. I'm certainly glad that has forever changed as of now.

"Muladona" is Rorcal's fifth full-length releasing on November 8th through Hummus Records, thematically based around a novel of the same name by Eric Stener Carlson, mirrored through the bleak and violent whirlwind of dissonant and abrasive death metal, borrowing flavours from blackened aesthetics and noise (quoting myself like a champ here). The author also lends his voice to the band as a narrator throughout the album. The close interaction between the two makes up an extremely transcendental experience, tying the whole epos together in an unprecedented manner, capable of engulfing your focus fully for its entire duration.

Opening with an intro track "This is how I came to associate drowning with tenderness", it's clear right from the beginning that this is something else. The haunting atmosphere created by the amalgamation of drones and the narration, along the drum and bass hits pave the way to a half an hour's worth of godless and violent, utter satisfaction. "She drained you of your innocence, and you poisoned her with it" spews forth an overly sorrowful and dramatic atmosphere, commencing with a slow and airy pace for a good while. Amping up constantly, the track picks up speed and force for a five minutes before exploding into its black metal-esque, blast beat driven final moments. Ending to some insect samples and gasps, it's easy to picture yourself on the narrators position, as you're surely trying to catch your breath before the next track kicks in.

"I'd done my duty to my mother and father. And more than that, I'd found love" is an apocalyptic piece drawing influence from a lot of places. One of the best things on the album is that how seamlessly all influences, all these different tones blend in together. The almost folk-ish approach to some leads join the most abrasive kind of death-flavoured crushing beating while being viewed through a very blackened lens. The vocals also take the spotlight here, as the desperate yet powerful screams carry the story onwards with the narration. The following and the first pre-released track "A sea of false smiles hiding murder, jealousy and revenge" packs in the kind of fury and agony that makes it perhaps the most effective and interesting cut on "Muladona". This shortest and most vile track acts also as a perfect bridge to the second half of the album, being placed right to the middle and having the sinew to capsize the listener's well-being due to its disgusting but fascinating and enveloping nature.

The following pair, "Carnation were not the smell of death. They were the smell of desire" and "The only constant in this world is blackness of the human heart" push Rorcal's musical limits right to the edge of being unbearable noise, but right when the hypnotizing chaos starts to dare getting too much, they change the direction and let you breath. Although most of the album is pretty relentless and suffocating, the short moments of quietness and tranquillity filled with samples and dynamics give just enough air to the album to avoid getting nauseating. The narrative takes a stronger weight towards the end, and the story gets more interesting and compelling throughout, despite being very uneasy and even deranged at times.

The culmination point of the album lies at the pinnacle of it, the magnificent closer that is "I was the Muladona's seventh tale". There's a sense of closure found here, fittingly similar to the last twenty pages of an extremely immersive and rousing book. The tale is brought to its dismal end in a sentimental fashion, picking along the tastier spices from across the album and grinding them into one very eloquently. Massive breakdowns follow each other consecutively, leading ultimately in a mental one. The narrative is brought to an end over few minutes of noisy drones, while you're left in a state of mind that's infuriatingly hard to describe.

It takes time to fully grasp and figure "Muladona" out, let alone to depict it in sensible words. "Muladona" is a grand piece of music portrayed in a setting that hasn't been done before in this extent. It quickly became obvious that not only this album is amongst the top ones of this year for me, it's also amongst the best albums I have ever heard. And all that from a band who's history was completely out of my view before hearing this album. I sincerely hope that some of my blabbering above made even the slightest of sense, and if not else, at least peaked your interest to give it a listen. The feelings that Rorcal is able to generate with "Muladona" are ponderous and many, that should be dealt with accordingly. Long after the album's finished, it'll echo in the silence you need to surround yourself with after experiencing it, calling and alluring you back into its black embrace.

”Muladona” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook