Dagger Lust- “Aggramica”

Dagger Lust- Aggramica

Holy shit, I guess THIS is a thing. Okay, seriously though, it’s a new Vrasubatlat release and you know I’ll be damned if I’m not going to do my part to push this onto the masses. Dagger Lust already made enough noise in the underground with its eponymous demo just a few months ago, but with the newly released Aggramica it seems this act is in the grip of an immensely prolific streak. While none of the tracks clock in at the dizzying lengths of “Blood Coils in Old Skin” from the first demo, there’s enough horror and diversity in these three songs to keep things fresh and relevant for those who were left hungry for more from this trio.

With lyrics about sex, suicide, and violence, Aggramica is every bit the uneasy listen one would expect. The absence of guitar is a bit more noticeable here, as the bass carries things along in an even less traditionally musical fashion, with the whole pulsing mess barely held together by the consistency of the drums. It’s a depraved exercise in feedback worship and hatred that excels at its ugliest, particularly with the repetitive churning buildup of the title track. Despite the familiar elements from the first demo, there are still enough surprises in Dagger Lust’s approach here to warrant this release as a distinct new period in the band’s progress. It may seem like a bold statement, but even for Vrasubatlat’s standards, this is an unsettling demo. While there are occasional moments in closer “Besieged to Dominion” that lock into nod-worthy grooves, the sense of psychedelic horror that often unites the label’s artists is replaced by layers of swirling static and the hellish choir of all three members’ howls in violent unison.

Dagger Lust live

As someone with a close eye on Portland’s extreme underground, I find Dagger Lust captivating. Noise and black metal both thrive here, yet the balanced fusion of aesthetics is still not a common thing outside of kindred spirits Rohit, whose noisy take on black punk is one of my favorite live experiences in town. Dagger Lust is setting a new bar for filth and depravity here, changing the nature of my experience with music in a city where many metal bands seem to form stylistic pockets around a shared sound. Dagger Lust raises a defiant fist against melody, comfort, and even metal itself in a community full of retro-doom revivalists and nature-worshiping melodic black metal groups. Are the dominant trends in this city unwelcome? Absolutely not, yet it’s refreshing to have a band that is so hard to place popping up and garnering the attention Dagger Lust has already received. At the rate of Dagger Lust’s current output, I’m holding out for at least one more tape before the year is over. Get it before it sells out.