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Wreck of the Hesperus : Light Rotting Out

Wreck Of The Hesperus push out the frontiers of their own brand of raw Sludge.

The best bands are part shamans. How to destroy and re-build on the body of often-heard patterns? That’s maybe the question Wreck Of The Hesperus asked themselves when they opened their eyes wide and looked within. An animal arose from the darkness. It’s hardly an image, as the disc starts off with a snarling wolf. Nice introduction.

The second full-length of the Irish band is presented in an A5-cardboard sleeve containing 3 beautiful graphic art cards, one for each track. The packaging has been given the best of treatment, so kudos to Aesthetic Death for that (among other things, being a great purveyor of excellent music is one of them).

Wreck Of The Hesperus sound as brutish as before, but, obviously, they also complexified their sound, adding strange, unexpected layers making the band not only a Sludge band anymore, but something of their own, navigating on even more opaque seas.

WOTH don’t sound as a bunch of freaks playing live in a decaying basement anymore; sure, their raspy Doom still holds dear that skin-burning desert ambiance ’The Sunken Threshold’ bore the scars of, but it’s now wrapped up in more sophisticated atmospheres. If you liked ’The Sunken Threshold’, you won't be disappointed by this new one, that’s a fact. But if you found its un-delicate integrity a tad too rough for your ears, ‘Light Rotting Out’ might be a surprise.

Many times, you see the musicians stepping aside, letting the void getting blurred through industrial resonances; the atmospheric contour lines swell out then burst in a complex ballet where the most viscous Sludge meets the most intangible Ambient. The main new soundscape they’re roaming has, as I said, industrial overtones: slow, ominous liquescent waves of destructured notes weaving a fluid web. The band polishes those eerie rhythms, making them all work nicely in relation with the raw core of Sludge that, for its part, is as intense and bleak as before. Those ambient waves are what makes them step into some grey shamanic realm, as I mentioned in the introduction. They are made of many layers, with noises, chants, muffled sounds and an overall feeling of gloom. The irruption of the free jazz-sounding sax draws the band toward a less dubious light; those tense chords work like biting sparkles floating at the surface of the band’s brackish waters. The bastard son of this mixed mating seems to me less consistent when a clear voice rises a bit out of nowhere (Albert Witchfinder courtesy); I mean it surprised me more than the abrupt sax lines and in my opinion it doesn’t fit as well with the band’s overall misanthropic vision. Perhaps it is just the too lyrical tone of it that forthrightly seems to belong to another album. However, the idea is interesting and not that disturbing; it’s just a short passage, anyway.

Now, I have to say a word about the drumming. The drums on WOTH are just magnificently played! In that particularly distorted Sludge Doom frame, you could have expected they’d rather keep a morose tempo, but they are relentlessly busy, and have a great impact. The drummer does not hesitate to use his cymbals – I love cymbals - and this gives his playing a gritty, acid vibe; there’re also many beats that seem to stray from the usual ‘formulae’.

All in all, what you have here is an excellent Doom album. Continuing along the path they have chosen, strengthening and intensifying it, stepping a bit forward to get to a larger-scale concept is what makes artists like the WOTH guys so unique. Forcing the limits to the point of rupture without ever corrupting them or being unfaithful to them. WOTH made it and this is a positive development that can only be applauded.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Kill Monument
2. Cess Pit People
3. Holy Rheum - I) Night of Negative Stars / II) Hologram Law

Duration : Approx. 40 minutes

Visit the Wreck of the Hesperus bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-06-29 by Bertrand Marchal
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