Space is something that has long fascinated humanity. From earlier days in which it was envisioned as something of a blanket over the planet to our current knowledge of its vastness, it has constantly tugged at our collective imagination. Still, there’s an element of fear and infinite potential to its size, scope, and mysteries that makes this curiosity feel just as likely to be destructive as it is to be a sign of progress. Are we bringing ourselves towards our own end as we gain technological capacities to travel outward or are we finally preparing to touch the greatness of the universe? Like the impulsive need to know of what lurks deeper that drives a horror film’s protagonist (and often unwitting victim) forward, something draws us closer to the art that makes us question ourselves to a point of discomfort. So it is with SPELLUNKR and Full Tang Myelin Sheath, two newer artists who have come together to offer up Nil Sidereal Thunderhead (Binate), a split of monstrous proportions focusing around the great mystery beyond. Black Metal & Brews has the honor of streaming the whole thing for your enjoyment, so click play below and read on for thoughts on this release.
With the A-side, SPELLUNKR shares its twenty minute opus “Terror Doppler Transmission/Supervoid Interceptor.” It’s a balance of dark ambient, sparse electronic beats, and ominous (yet never overpowering) static that writhes back and forth throughout its lengthy span. As a countdown gently welcomes the listener into SPELLUNKR’s world, one cannot help but get the anticipatory twitch. It’s the lack of preparation and certainty that makes music like this so evocative. We often know what to expect when dealing with conventionally assembled and structured sound. Within the framework of experimental music, it is easy to get lost in the possibilities, enabling the artist to more fully create a specific world of sound and experience for the listener. As SPELLUNKR explores its own interpretation of space, it often lurks at the precipice of chaos, only fully giving in as the song works towards its end, with a sample warning of a self-destruct sequence. It’s territory that has been explored time after time in science fiction, yet it works wonderfully in the context of the composition, as every element melds together in a fusion that grows just long enough to disintegrate back to the nothing from which it came.
As its companion piece, Full Tang Myelin Sheath’s “Binary Doors – Blood for the Blood God” explores the experience of passing through a singularity. There’s an obvious sense of progression that the artist creates here, starting with an ambiance that is unsettling in its melodic characteristics. While they touch on almost soothing sounds, they feel like a distant alarm perceived through the haze of a distorted mindset. The blurring around the edges is the characteristic that makes this so powerful and captivating. It crackles and radiates far more calmly than something of such weight should, creating the sensation that the listener is incapacitated in the presence of true danger. As the hellish roar of inevitability spirals into the listener’s awareness, it doesn’t dwarf the mechanical sounds that have carried things on but rather pushes them into a more frantic pulse. If one were capable of surviving the experience of passing through a black hole, the implied panic of Full Tang Myelin Sheath’s clipped and spastic beats and static would surely serve as a hint of the terror, although its hard to imagine such force having an experience that the human mind and body could possibly process. As the song grows deeper, it transcends noise and becomes more of a disturbing rhythmic industrial track. For those who might be inclined to dance to the sound of their own destruction, “Binary Doors – Blood for the Blood God” makes a perfect soundtrack. Get lost in it.
This cassette is available for pre-order now, with only 30 copies in existence. Don’t fuck up.