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Corrupted : Garten Der Unbewusstheit

Corrupted's last true album is a masterpiece of devastation.

Corrupted have passed a long way since their roots to come to this, their final true album. It was clear that without Hevi the band wouldn’t be the same and the two recent EPs only proved this point. They started with pretty fast, almost Hardcore-ish Sludge on their first releases, similar to Noothgrush. The music was filthy, raw and pounding, set amidst waste and sewers, grim and spiteful. But with every release the sound became slower, uglier and heavier. Despite this the premise was usually the same - the rhythm was slow and straightforward, with stumping, slightly bouncy guitars and Hevi's never-ending magnificent grunts on top. Music emerges with the single purpose to crush you and then disappears, with no sense for progression, beginning or end. Songs would often end with the volume simply going down as if they would go on forever in the background. The pain does no stop, it recedes behind the veil, like crumbling debris passing through our sight.

'Llenandose De Gusanos' is where things began to change and new ingredients to emerge. The long, calm, ambient sections that become typical of the band's later era appear for the first time and 'Humanos', probably the best thing they've done, even features incredible piano accompaniment, a remarkably brilliant idea, never to be tried again unfortunately.

This progress was not always successful though. Corrupted were best at creating brutal aural devastation and at first the long ambient parts came as a distraction to endure - 'Llenandose De Gusanos', 'Se Hace Por Los Suenos Asesinos' and the completely unnecessary re-recording of their masterpiece 'Paso Inferior' all suffer from this. The light and heavy sections were not really homogeneous and existed as two separate realms, making it disjointed and the light sections almost superfluous. Throughout the years, Corrupted satisfied their desire for short relentless outbursts with the occasional EPs and splits, but on the "full-length" front the two realms starting merging in order to form an coherent whole with the amazing 'El Mundo Frío' - the second masterpiece in their career.

'Garten Der Unbewusstheit' is the logical continuation, reaching the pinnacle of Corrupted's song writing abilities. The structure of the songs is complex, the band has put aside the idea that the only thing that matters is to crush everything in their way. Nevertheless, the album manages to be an extremely intense experience from beginning to end, bleak and depressive instead of ugly and aggressive. It is quite the feat to evolve so much and still be able to rival the utter brutality of their early releases leaving you just as devastated as the original 'Paso Inferior' did.

The crucial part which makes it work so well is that it feels as a whole and is always engaging. No longer do the acoustic passages simply coexist beside the heavy sludge. Now they bleed into each other so that the ambient is much bleaker and more intense than ever while the crushing sections are more drawn out, grey and desolate. It is clear that the goal is to compose a sound that is above all bleak and everything works to this end - the forlorn acoustic parts, the slow desperate vocals, the guitars slowly crawling in long melody lines. The tempo is steady, focused and constrained. Though the structure of the songs with their slow build-ups could resemble post-rock, it defers from it as post-rock always has direction, it is always heading to the next crescendo, while here we are dragging through debris, at times rising up to give out an intense and desperate howl of despair and then back to resignation again.

Unlike in the past, the acoustic parts are able to hook you up from the beginning. They are foreboding, menacing, you expect the heavy drum pound to arrive at every moment, keeping you in an uneasy state without letting go. They feel like an integral part of the album and are engaging even in their own right - ominous and subtle. The whole transition between loud and quiet is seamless and structured extremely carefully, elevating the album to a pure masterpiece. The young Corrupted didn't mind suddenly switching from tranquillity to thunderous guitars and grunts. They did not care that the listeners would be caught unprepared, they just steamrollered over them. 'Garten Der Unbewusstheit' on the other hand feels like a continuous journey, slow, solemn and forlorn.

The highlights of the album are the heavy crushing sections with the slow sludgy guitars and tearing grunts. This is where Corrupted has always excelled. The progression now gives them even more weight, they come slowly like lava, gradually building to erupt viciously into a rapturing climax. The grunts are as brutal and amazing as before, but much slower, proving the Doom metal axiom - when slower, the pain last longer. They increase in tension and soar, each growl is prolonged until it reaches a zenith, like a white spot of singularity.

For me this is a single song release, unnecessarily split into three. The first and last one, both around half an hour long, mirror each other - the first is mostly ambient with occasional outbursts of droning guitars while the last track is the opposite - mostly made up of heavy crushing guitars with quiet sections interspersed to alleviate the tension. In the middle there is a short interlude that functions as a bridge between the two tracks. Composed of only gentle acoustic guitar that almost sounds romantic, it feels completely out of place here.

'Garten' starts slowly with low notes and sporadic drum thuds, less folky and more melancholic. Vocals crawl in, subdued, yet focused and powerful, like a shattered, helpless man who has not lost his dignity and his strength of spirit yet. Almost whispered, clean spoken words are ushered, telling the story of a broken men. Soon we hear the first heavy guitars and grunts, slow, grinding and superb, deep, full and rich. The riffs are long, drawn out and do not count on pure heaviness anymore to express undiluted misery. The song evolves slowly and subtly while a tragedy is being told in the background amidst desolate notes.

The romantic notes of the interlude spill into 'Gekkou No Daichi' (an unrecognizable remake of the acoustic track from 'Se Hace Por Los Suenos Asesinos') for a couple of minutes. Soon the heavy guitars kick in, extremely slow and melodic and they never let go until the end, swirling, grinding or droning. The spikes in intensity where the whole music raises and the suffering reaches a climax are true highlights. It feels apocalyptic, similar to the devastating and forlorn picture that Worship paints in 'Dooom' though with different musical means. The atmosphere is oppressive and heavy due to the pure sense of desolation that permeates the song. At the end it goes back to the quiet acoustic guitar and after a short passage dies out under the rumbles.

The sound quality of this release is also worth mentioning - it is brilliant and stands as one of the best sounding CDs in my collection by a long shot - the superb sound makes you want to simply indulge in its sonic qualities and amplifies its effect.

The bliss that comes from the grunts, heavy drums and grinding guitars is almost unparalleled and leaves you craving for more. It is so good, that at times it is hard to justify the prolonged acoustic sections that take significant portion of the album. The music is massive, like a flood through civilization's wastelands with a post-apocalyptic sense of finality, all the while carrying a feeling of melancholy. This is achieved through a perfectly built atmosphere - the engine oil that was the quintessence of the sound of old is put aside so that the music can breathe. 'Garten Der Unbewusstheit' is a phenomenal masterpiece; it sounds fresh and shows a band still full of ideas and potential that remains unrivalled.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Garten
2. Against The Darkest Days
3. Gekkou No Daichi

Duration : Approx. 63 minutes

Visit the Corrupted bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-11-11 by Klamerin Malamov
Aesthetic Death
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