Tuesday, February 4, 2014
EP Review: Lazarus Blackstar / Black Shape Of Nexus – Split
Setting off through the sludge and buzz-heavy riffing of Lazarus Blackstar’s “Command and Control”, Mik Hell’s growl and dissonant rage pitch us downwards until they find their spiritual nadir in a ponderous hole where two sets of layered vocals tear lumps out of each other upon a bedrock of whining drone. From here they dust themselves off and settle into the patchwork quilt of sections that form “Whispering Through Broken Teeth”. Reminiscent of St. Vitus and, to a point, Eyehategod there is also a moment where, disconcertingly, it all begins to sound a bit like a slowed-down Iron Maiden tape. Walking you through, we’ve got an introductory riff that cuts abrasively into a rumbling verse, before heading down to half-time for the chorus and then out into a displaced, yet memorably upbeat riff. Rinse and repeat ad infinitum.
Experimenting with much more success, B.SON tug at their Neurosis chain and flush out a tongue-in-cheek offering to the Gods of doom. The 11-minute “Honor Found In Delay”, littered with psychedelic hits of feedback and noisy electronica, gets you deep in the gut with a thunderous, soul-shaking series of chords. The construction is much more organic here and stands in direct opposition to Lazarus Blackstar’s harsh segues. When they find their chug-friendly two-note doom boots they stomp about in them like pigs in muck with Malte Seidel screaming blue murder from, what sounds like, the other side of the street.
Best of all, closer “Always And Only” spends its entire 9-minute length revelling in the joys that a simple-spined, steadily evolving, quality tongue-and-groove doom song can supply. And who better than George Orwell to provide the LP’s morbid epitaph? His soundbite taken from the BBC Series “The Life Of Orwell” plays this intriguingly miserablist LP out – “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face… forever”.