If you’ve been reading this site for a while you’ve probably gathered that I’m a big fan of Sentient Ruin Laboratories. They pump out quality release after quality release, not only black metal but all sorts of harsh or experimental weirdness carefully selected to cater to all manner of wretched tastes. Easily my favourite label of last year and in news that will surprise no-one who’s been following their releases, they’ve started off 2018 in exactly the same fashion: already unleashed are two incredible finds, the previously mentioned on these pages Rotting Sky and the co-released with Xenoglossy Productions debut EP of vicious UK black/death/noise act Vessel Of Iniquity.
This slice of negative energy is the latest project from black noise architect A. White, who has been active since before the turn of the century with Thoraxembalmer and various other subterranean niceties.
This time, he’s harnessed the sheer horrifying power and pull of the void. When you think of the void, do you imagine immense calm, or mind-bending incomprehensible violence lashing you from all sides? Well, Vessel Of Iniquity is definitely the latter. Opener ‘Void of Existential Terror’ is exactly that; an all-out sonic assailment of inevitable destruction whipping your flesh to dust. It is fucking terrifying. Percussion teeters on the brink of becoming flat-out physical punishment as disembodied howls ride escalating waves of panic-inducing power electronics noise carnage; until it all collapses in on itself and you’re allowed to breathe for a brief, precious moment.
EP centrepiece ‘Where Even Nothing Is Something’ seems like it just wants to try out new and more disorienting ways to beat the shit out of you, switching it up for the latter half of the track to descend into chaos and become somehow even more intense than anything that’s come before. It’s the shortest track on offer at 3:40, which is a good thing, as aside from the piece itself never becoming tiresome I seriously doubt the tenuous grip we hold on reality would be able to withstand a longer assault.
The ultimate panel in the hellish triptych finally allows some respite from the torment. Everything slows to a relative crawl; twisted atmospherics, ritualistic drones and hypnotic patterns forming the necessary Thelemic sigils to evoke the Dweller In The Abyss… ‘Choronzon’. Once manifested, however… Well, you’ll see.
I bought this immediately after hearing it for the first time, but I’ll probably never end up receiving it. The way Sentient Ruin keeps digging up black gold I’ll be forever adding to my parcel and it will sit in pre-order limbo forever. Which is meant as the highest praise, and I guess nothing could be more fitting than for this wretched abomination of an EP to languish in stasis, not of this world yet infecting it by its very existence, spitting and howling in the fathomless void forever.
Don’t sleep on this. Out on tape as of three days ago through the Sentient Ruin / Xenoglossy Bandcamp pages, with vinyl pre-orders also available.
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