Labelmates and fellow countrymen Abraham and Coilguns have always exercised their genuinely innovative sonic assault within the heart of the underground, and forever remained true to both their own, and the scene's, iconoclastic and parameter pushing ethos. Therefore, it's kind of apt they now share the same space on this EP, a split affair containing one lengthy track by the former, and 3 by the latter.
Abraham open the EP with 'Chasing Dragons, Chasing Light', a 16 minute, atmospherically epic piece that manages to create a sinister vibe through its dissonant sludge backbone, Olivier Hähnel's bitterly scathing growls, and some always interesting drums that range from blast beats to tom-tom led passages to some inventive fills where you least expect 'em. Doomier than doom, this is grindingly depressing sludge, and almost an endurance test to survive the full sixteen minutes. Guitars occasionally promise a tad of melodic relief but, ultimately descend back into discordant gloom. Overall, Abraham's aesthetic here is an unsettling aural experience, although a thoroughly engaging one, and a rewarding one. Amazing stuff.
Coilguns' three tracks close the EP, which includes a near-13 minute song sandwiched between two much shorter pieces. I've always loved Coilguns as they've continued to evolve and push boundaries on each new release, challenging both themselves and their listeners. The sign of a genuinely progressive band. And, as with Abraham's effort, Coilguns' opener, 'Drainers', proves to be an unsettling experience, albeit for different reasons. Here, it's the contraposition between their initially relentless dissonant aggression, which persists throughout the track through the vocals, although gives way to passages of music coloured with a more concordant, cleaner guitar sound. 'The Archivist' is a much 'calmer', laid-back song for lengthy parts of its playing time, although is punctuated with moments of aggressive heaviness, before climaxing with 5 minutes of guitar-dominated music where layered parts seemingly work both harmoniously, and at odds with each other, simultaneously. That's unsettling in itself! And 'Leveling' is far from leveling as the EP climaxes with explosive dissonance, all wrapped up in cacophonically twisted time signatures. Coilguns three tracks are, like Abraham, an unsettling and challenging listen, although the innovative sonic treats are there to be discovered and savoured for those who like their heavy music to be formidably innovative, and are willing to invest some serious listening time in learning to appreciate it for what it is.
On a side note, you've just got to love the guys at Hummus Records. I mean, apart from the hand-crafted, screen-printed, general awesomeness of their packaging (for those who still favour physical media), what label issues limited editions to the music press? The limited-packaging for the version submitted for review here is, apparently, one of just 84 copies, hand-numbered, and used only for medias, partners and select crowdfunding backers. It consolidates the exclusivity and esotericism of underground authenticity. Good on 'em!
Review by Mark Holmes
20th Sept 2014
1) Abraham - Chasing Dragons, Chasing Light
2) Coilguns - Drainers
3) The Archivist
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...Abraham and Coilguns have always exercised their genuinely innovative sonic assault within the heart of the underground, and forever remained true to both their own, and the scene's, iconoclastic and parameter pushing ethos."