Decaycast REVIEWS : GNAWED “Terminal Epoch” CD (Phage Tapes , 2013)
WOW. Just wow. From the second I pushed play on this bad boy it’s dark, spatially aware, and gripping. Terminal Epoch starts out with a slow crawling drone with subtle percussive elements and voice transmissions birthed in the background. Slowly churning, mixing and making its way toward you. The second track hits and begins oozing distorted and ancient vocals atop a reverb slam which sounds like the door of mordar being slammed with the power of one million knights. A delicate balance between total chaos and control is layed forth upon minimal attacks of a death slam, mangled electronics and strangulated howls of pain. The tension and disdain on this album grows and bleeds blood of sonic darkness with every track. As the album moves forward , so does the descent into a deep dark personal place, this doesn’t FEEL like a band, but it sounds like one. GNAWED is the sound of being alone, as a producer of oxygen, all that’s left is your body and your fluids. Tension between the different elements of synths/oscillators , voice and percussive / rhythmic elements is balanced with seasoned compositional and mixing choices. Gnawed understand restraint, and the impact and intensity that such restraint can evoke.
This album is the continuation of the moment right before you plunge off the cliff, amplified and reverberated one thousand times over. Some tracks like “Retribution” take a slower dronier approach to the compositions while others like the second track, “Taken As Scourn” take a more rhythm forward old school industrial approach. This possesses the intensity of power electronics done right, but without the monotonous feedback and excess of vocals. The recording quality is also of a particularly high caliber. Everything in the mix is audible with respect to itself, but it all gels together to create a swell mix of a dark industrial foiree into an interpersonal hell hole, with no escape. Each voice is treated with its own layer of effects but retains an overall clarity and precision which states this is NOT improvised but highly composed and thought out, a rarity these days. Synths are a steady driving force which produce the backbone of the sonic landscape, but voice and percussive elements play an equally important and dark role in the overall material of “Terminal Epoch”
TERMINAL EPOCH is a stunning effort in new American dark industrial / drone / heavy intense music ! This album surprised me around every turn and it was always a pleasant surprise , TOP NOTCH EFFORT!!! For fans of BLOODYMINDED, Tribes of Neurot, etc …