Review: Deathstench – Massed in Black Shadow

1587623078-1Putrid filth spewed directly from the gaping mouth of the abysmal death-industrial/dark ambient duo called Deathstench, based around Darea Plantin and JohnPaul Whetzel, whom also worked within the band Welter in thy Blood. As the black oil puts on a layer of disguise, they rapidly move into the first song on the album titled “Extractum Ex Infernis“. The whole picturesque scene that upholds itself, suggests that an almost ritualistic wall of death-industrial paves the way for the lesser elements of this song. Going ahead in a manner of strength, stinking up the whole place with the vocalists utterly distorted wave of noise. The whole continuum of the sound-scape brazenly lighten up the darkest emotions from within, conjuring horrific pictures inside an ever numbed down skull. An almost propagandist feature is the repeated words heard in the background, almost as an instructional guidance for this visually gruesome landscape of gigantic splendor, in the way of the smutty putrefaction. The repetitive notion of the sound-scape waltzes on in its own particular manner, as it autonomously pulsates on with sheer destruction in mind. As a novice within the genres, you’d expect it to be fascinatingly obvious to pinpoint the exact partition divided between the genres. But from what you hear, the overt dark ambient is forcefully managed to step on and include the darker elements of the genres, as the death-industrialist expose can work within, undisturbed. Emotionally, this is a masterpiece, as it steps on your toes with no forgiveness and continues on like the amoeba it is. Gathering different intelligentsia from other corners of the vitally important genre-sphere, as it delves deeper into your mind, haunting your mind with the most susceptible mixture of ignominy. You simply can’t ignore the vastness and cunning of the machinated abyssal void that is coming right at you.

Moving even further into the space dedicated to this dark sorcery, you find the song “Corpse Upon A Throne Of Wyrms“. Which perpetrates other components like black metal, for starters and the more drone-ish approach to doom metal. Firstly, it feels like you’re entrapped in a catacomb with a stark sense of anguish inside your body. As if something is lurking in the shadows, too far away for you to see. The slow riffs and the enclosed atmosphere makes for a great listening all-round, since the peak of the sound-scape is when the vocalist enthralls you with his drooping but calculated, chilling embodying of a wraith. It feels like you’ve been given a serenade of some sorts, then quickly moving on to the main course with is some drone-ish black metal with overt doom ingredients pasted all over it. However, the death-industrial factor is what is moving this forward, wholly. As it pierces through your mind and entangles all your senses, just to tickle them a little bit more, there’s a large portion of the listener that has to grasp all the different things happening. There are some interesting subliminal factors, that just make the instruments gush out of the sound-scape just to fiercely encroach into your private space. When you get further into the sound-scape, there’s almost a ritualistic calm in between the swarm of grasshoppers and the ludicrously wicked dark ambient atmosphere. As if a portion of it is delegated to a form of ritualistic nature which would have to make your prove yourself, to grasp the concept of it.

Endurance is a virtue, but also a minor misdemeanor. The transgression from the aforementioned song, to the song “Symbols In Warm Flesh“, make it feel like it’s a continuation of it. As you’re entrapped in a cell, close to the sea with virtually no air to breathe and running water in the midst – you’re extensively becoming more and more insane. It’s like Deathstench are trying to conjure a perfect picture of what it’s like to be detained and sit in such an environment for too long, so that it grows on you. The sound-scape is horridly distorted, the wall of noise is seldom moving that quickly, only to be the progenitor for even more of an assault on your eardrums. There’s also some escapism involved, since it feels like you’ve dug yourself out, but find yourself in a field of thorns. Getting some cuts over your body, as you’re trying to find a way out. It’s as if they’ve conjured a musical maze, that changes appearance from above but also from the ground and up. You’re always covered in walls, with noisy sounds grizzly enough to make you turn away and move back. If it wasn’t for the total grimness of it, I wouldn’t say that its somewhat occult. Drawing some attention to that too, they increase the subliminal hammering of your senses. Only to cover it up with muddy water, just to make it not seem as overtly true. Principally, it’s such a nasty experience that you’d have to rest and regain your sense of perception once again.

It might not be volatile, but it certainly hits a deep spot. Next up is the song “Circle Of Black Blood“. With its grainy and flooded sound-scape, it gives birth to a symptomatic avalanche of drone-riffs and insistingly effective growls, from the deeper end of the belly of the monstrosity. The death-industrialist perspective is in full swing, as it wrecks havoc whenever you hear it. Rattling sounds, disturbed noises from deep within and black-doom metal at that, increasingly makes you wonder how they produce this concoction of grime. As the hissing sound of the vocalist breathes some more energy into the mechanized landscape, it also adds up to the freakishness of the sound-scape as a whole. Endless torment is being brought upon you with swift decision, it feels as if your body is chained up and you’re going through a torturous venture, through sound. Every last breath is an agonizing ordeal and the subsequent utterance of total decay is upon those who have not adhered. Musically, it’s stunning and the visuals are also that. It’s a hard time to describe it using words, as you’d want to project out your own thoughts of it for everyone else. Words are not sufficient, at least not for this song, because its sheer grimness and total void is stunningly brazen, but at the same time significantly genuine.

One of the more fascinating songs on this album, is the song “Shrine Of Viscera“. It produces the death-industrialist feeling in the beginning, but more as a placeholder for the black metal sound you’re about to hear. At times, the latching out from the sphere of black-metal sounds like some of the most nocturnal black metal out there. The under produced sound-scape, shrouded in minimalistic elements, produce a nice combination – much like a bridge in between the genres so they can leap through the hoop. Sometimes it produces the best of the unorthodox black metal sound that is prevailing in the underground scene. But it also have a lot of resemblance to other genres in the field, as it has been throughout the album, which makes it even more original. The sounds of clashing hi-hats, a purely evil bass drum and the extreme fulfillment of noisiness frankly makes the opinion of these different genres change within a second. As mean as the other songs might’ve been, this one picks up momentum and unleashes a higher tempo within the wickedness of itself. Controlling the minds of the futile beings around it, making the enjoyability and adrenaline-rush seem all the same, but keeping true to its own roots from within.

Last but not least, the last song on the album, titled “Bastards Of The Black Flame“, leave everything behind to start anew. It’s actually the most ritualistic song I’ve heard on this album. They’re melting down their objects, in which they’ve produced this wickedness with, producing the ritualistic seance required for it to burn. It’s really the whole outline for the sound that Deathstench have portrayed throughout, so it actually feels like you’re traveling back in time, just to listen through some of the constructions they’ve made in the past. The past being, just some minutes ago. Everything seems to fall in place and as it in this sense begins a new era. What’s so great about it is that it brings some real closure, which makes you wonder if it’s really the last track or just some kind of joke. But it actually is and it’s one of the better closures I’ve had on an album for some time.

It gives you no hint as to what will come after, but it revitalizes your own take on the album and brings you back things you might’ve had to shut down in order to continue reviewing. Pure pain, pure agony and a filthy sound-scape for the believers. If you’re not going to be a believer after this, you’ll have to check your ears one more time, because someone might’ve put a lid over them. A really enjoyable album for the most part, it might not be my style, but it sounds original and it tempers with the conventions of the genres it visits on the long journey you’re getting aboard on. I would suggest this album to everyone that prefers black metal, doom, dark ambient, death-industrial and the likes of it.

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