Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress

With a release of a new album merely three years (rather than ten) after their last, listeners may have a short circuit in their expectations of ‘Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress’. Finding the collective in brutal form may realign these expectations; the mythology surrounding their decade-long hiatus (amplified by their sparse explanatory press) is sometimes hard to reconcile with the output of a touring, recording entity. Is the current output from this idealized group going to cut it against the older revered material?

Of course.

Although the material treads a similar path (bludgeoning dirges, four tracks, vinyl vibe) to 2012’s ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!’, the performances seem expansive, contemplative and less frenetic – matching the clinically precise chaos of their live shows. Centerpiece linked tracks “Lambs’ Breath” and “Asunder, Sweet” are, in places, both restrained drone and thudding distortion – both equally legitimate vehicles to express their absolute visceral contempt for stupidity, greed, iniquity and moral turpitude.

Their reappearance in a world in which these things have gotten worse, not better, reflects the proportionate volume and fury of the noise they direct towards it. If anyone is expecting the bleak delicate misery of twenty years ago then they may be initially disappointed, but the behemothic force they project as a musical moral compass will far outweigh this.

As far as cleansing fire goes, “Piss Crowns Are Trebled” may well be the salve everyone needs.

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