Insect Court/Flagellant Split CS

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Insect Court and Flagellant are two artists whose music I had not been acquainted with before I decided to review this split. While neither is wholly rooted in black metal, the structure of the music and its overall aim seems to come from a similar creative place.  This is certainly a release on the more ambient side of metal, and it’s worth taking a journey or two with these groups. The names may be new but the sounds will quickly become part of your world.

Insect Court’s contribution here is “Death in Centipede I & II,” a lengthy demonstration of somber guitar melodies and simple yet highly effective drum patterns.  Samples from Naked Lunch add a strange yet captivating sensation to the song’s first half, while the second half is marked with noticeably more aggressive sounds and a doubled pace. The music has a general crackle around the edges that adds a brightness and slight sense of tension to the song without placing things into muddy or unpleasant territory due to lack of production. Instead, this is a crisp and precise raw edge that allows the music to hold its personality in context of the space it’s been given. Vocals aren’t present until the song’s last few minutes, but just as they make sense while they’re in the mix, the song doesn’t suffer for lack of them either. This overall piece is eerily hypnotic and leaves me wishing for more. Luckily, Flagellant’s side follows, fulfilling the need.

Flagellant’s contribution, “Zelmire,” buzzes in, shimmering in a way. There is a subtle intensity to this music, but this is mostly achieved through layer upon layer of droning, glistening notes that would seem wholly beautiful on their own, yet form a deafening blanket of unease as presented here. After the song’s introductory melody fades, the tones align in a way that almost sounds like the incessant, ominous buzzing of a thousand cicadas. The weight of the song simply grows as notes move back and forth through each other at such a high rate that they eventually dissipate, giving way to yet another period of beauty and ambiance. The initial buildup and deconstruction have been endured, thus setting the stage for Flagellant’s slow shift back and forth between gentle tones and layered chaos. This song is the sonic equivalent of a psychedelic, coming in waves of brilliant colors and textures only to subside briefly as the listener is grounded temporarily, only to start all over again, or so it would seem. As the song builds its way slowly towards a purely euphoric sound, guitar and drums are introduced, slowly plodding onward so as to add a whole new layer to the swirling chaos around it. By the song’s end, I can’t tell if it’s truly beautiful or if I’ve simply given in to madness. Regardless, it’s captivating and not an experience one will easily forget.

Copies of this tape are presently available from Negation Records. Only 20 have been made, so don’t delay. It looks like there are other solid items in the label’s store, so save on shipping and grab a few goodies.

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