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Process Of Guilt : Black Earth

Powerful but somewhat unstructured, Process Of Guilt don't quite blend their hybrid elements coherently.

Process Of Guilt really don't like to make reviewing their work easy, do they?! As soon as the powerful opener 'No Shelter' kicks in you're made aware that this will not be a slow burner! Within this track alone the band veer between Black Metal, Doom Metal, and Sludge, which is a trend that continues throughout the album. Given that I am a big fan of all three genres, it's fair to say that my appetite had been suitably whetted from the very start.

Of course, fusing genres isn't necessarily a good thing. Plenty of bands of the past have done it well and others have amply demonstrated that they aren't particularly noteworthy in any of the genres covered. With Process Of Guilt's latest release, I feel like they're somewhere in between the two.

To start with, there are a number of things that I enjoy about this album. For example, Hugo Santos has strong vocals that help to accentuate the powerhouse music. Bad vocals will put me off a band moreso than anything else but that's most certainly not an issue here. I'm also a big fan of the quagmire-saturated Sludgy riffs that are present during this release because of the power they lend to the music.

However, the main problem that I encountered on 'Black Earth' is that I don't feel like there's enough direction, to be blunt. It's as if none of the songs truly start and end, which is a problem for me. Indeed, I would even tentatively suggest that the band rely more on their incredible power on this album than they do upon their song structure. Now, if this were solely (or even predominantly) a Sludge release then that wouldn't be an issue - but it's not. It's a hybrid, and each genre covered requires a different approach in order for the desired effect to be realised and I don't get the impression that that happens here, at least not with any consistency.

Subsequently, I am left feeling a little hollow after having heard this release. It's not a bad album and I would struggle to criticise anything specific about the musicianship or the vocals but I cannot identify when I would listen to it because of the way in which it drifts between genres. I would not hesitate to watch Process Of Guilt perform this album live because of their sheer power and passion but I can't imagine that I would ever be in the mood to listen to a Black/Doom/Sludge crossover such as Process Of Guilt without one of those genres being prevalent, if that makes sense. The talent appears to be there but the general impression I get from 'Black Earth' is that it's a tad forced.

To summarise, there are some extremely promising aspects to this band that I enjoy a lot but without the appropriate song structure, I find it difficult to recommend this release to fans of any of the genres covered. The pieces are all in place but it's almost like they're not working in unison.

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Reviewer's rating: 6/10


Tracklist :
1. No Shelter
2. Feral Ground
3. Servant
4. Black Earth
5. Hoax

Duration : Approx. 43 minutes

Visit the Process Of Guilt bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-01-09 by Ian Morrissey
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