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Rorcal : Rorcal/Process Of Guilt (Split)

Both Rorcal and Process Of Guilt offer absorbing, gripping and at times spellbinding music.

Portugal's Process Of Guilt have a highly regarded back catalogue, and rightly so. The word that mainly springs to mind with this band is uncompromising. Their dissonant, bleak, harsh and at times most troubling brand of sludge never backs away from its path or the message it brings. Discovering their harrowing, relentless music however, delivers a huge sense of satisfaction and relief, just from knowing people are out there making music such as this.

Sludge fans should need no introduction to Process Of Guilt, making, as they have, their noisy, heartfelt presence of gloomy disgust felt on the scene for nigh on fourteen years or so. Sure enough the post-metal blueprint often wears its influences on their grubby sleeves, but they have more than enough peculiar personality of their own for these musical repurcussions to be anything other than a rather welcome familiarity, as opposed to a formulaic yawn-fest. So, getting straight up to date, the three tracks on offer here arguably begin to develop and push Process Of Guilt's own anomalous and idiosyncratic charms to the fore, and by extension help to distance them from too many Neurosisian parallels.

Roughly eighteen minutes in length, their contribution is essentially a single track entitled 'Liar' split into three movements. Listing their own influences simply as "life's austerity" it can be safely assumed they're not about to deviate too much from this in terms of subject matter, despite the lack of available lyrics.

The music here has a slightly more open feel to it, and whilst keeping their familiar atmospheres, the overall effect doesn't feel quite as confined as on previous releases. However, all this does not mean that it's good time rock 'n roll we're dealing with, moreover that the claustrophobic menace has changed shape rather than disappeared altogether. The industrial, grating soundscapes only add to the misery and come courtesy of a Rorcal side project which attaches a little inter-band cohesion to the 'split' proceedings here. If you were to imagine a member of The Axis of Perdition teaming up with Walk Through Fire you'd not be far off the mark.

An interesting contribution then, and one that I imagine existing fans won't be disappointed by. Three tracks suggesting a possible shift in direction, albeit a very slight one; or perhaps simply a chance for a small bit of experimentation within the confines of a split release? Time will tell.

On the subject of uncompromising bands, the rest of the release by Swiss purveyors of blackened destruction Rorcal is the sonic equivalent of being battered about the head by a selection of exceedingly heavy, blunt and dense objects whilst in an euphoric trance. There are two brief moments between songs to fight for some air but it's pretty futile trying to do so, such is the intensity of the percussive battery, vocal storm and 'axe'-wielding assault made manifest by the quintet.

If you've not come across Rorcal and you're a fan of extreme music, and have a suitably bleak world view, then check out their last full length release 'Vilagvege'. Truly the sum of their parts and their influences, they morph from discordant slow paced sludge to blisteringly quick metal taking in several different shades of ugly on the way.

Coming across on here like the bastard child of a poorly produced Mayhem and Anaal Nathrakh on meth-amphetamine this is music to pull teeth to, and whilst it may be relentless and heavy as shit Rorcal's faster tracks still have enough dynamics, licks and hooks (yes, hooks) scattered about the place to keep it from veering into Black Witchery territory and thus putting the listener to sleep. Throughout it all too, Rorcal's musical chops are exemplary and can be heard to fine effect in a sparse but thumping, grainy production that suits them down to the ground. Certainly not a band you'd want to see signed to Roadrunner.

As split releases go for 2015 this is going to take some beating. Whilst that may be a tad eager to say given that there's some way to go before we're out of January, the proof is in the aural beating so to speak. Not least because both bands not only write absorbing, gripping and at times spellbinding music, they also channel their bleak, uneasy, and desolate sonic landscapes and impress them quite tangibly upon the listener's imagination. Not to be missed.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. IX
2. X
3. XI
Process Of Guilt
4. Liar (Movement I)
5. Liar (Movement II)
6. Liar (Movement III)

Visit the Process Of Guilt bandpage.

Duration : Approx. 32 minutes

Visit the Rorcal bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-01-16 by Matt Halsey
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