Solo artists are a frequent sight on Black Metal & Brews. From the typical isolationist black metal acts whose straightforward yet endearing passion charms me time after time to wall noise artists who need no companions, many of these are folks with a single, direct vision. When the mind behind hazy, wintry black metal act Voidcrawler contacted me with word of a new project entitled Rat Mother, I was instantly intrigued. Not only is Rat Mother a departure from Voidcrawler’s sounds, it even explores broad reaches of sound within its own reflective and mournful framework. While today we’re examining XYG, Rat Mother’s debut offering, there is already a newer release entitled Depression Erotica, which will likely prove equally essential listening for the open-minded and morbidly curious listener.
Smothered in a healthy layer of that classic fuzz, XYG‘s first segment of its first part, “Your Name is One” begins with a choral sample that starts joyous in tone but slowly shifts towards a darker territory. This shift in trajectory is slow and unassuming, almost undetectable until it’s fully completed. This place of darkness is where XYG excels as an album, as instead of merely covering itself in murk and misanthropy as many dark experimental artists might, Rat Mother loves to poke holes in its own dark tapestry to allow delicate rays of light in, moments of trembling beauty. From droning of endless percussive echoes to the determined and almost mechanically delivered speech of the first part’s second half, “The Windowless Tower,” the landscape is relatively unwelcoming, allowing Rat Mother to establish brief periods of release. It’s an ominous yet not entirely barren feeling that is well cultivated.
The second part of the album contains two portions that stand in slightly starker contrast from each other, “Sun Filth” and “I Want to Return to that Day.” While “Sun Filth” is a brief, noisy offering that continues Rat Mother’s hideously charming revelry, its companion seems to be a lengthy call from a place of penance, more a dreamy and dark folk offering than the minimal experiments of the rest of XYG. Rat Mother’s sense of shame and regret makes for a beautiful sentiment, even if it seems to be summoned up from the depths of a painfully warped and intoxicated place that will soon be forgotten by its narrator. With two simple lines repeated over and over, this mantra of rebirth becomes nearly desperate before fading out into a bizarre sample that ends the release abruptly enough. Perhaps it’s the beauty and melancholy of this last track that will win many to the cause, as it’s warranted its own separate “single edit” release at the request of a California based radio station. Rat Mother is releasing XYG as a cassette soon and those who enjoy the meanderings of artists like David Tibet and Steven Stapleton would be wise to consider this a new name worth watching.