Friday, March 20, 2009
Bosque / Senthil - Under The Capricorn Sky / Premeditation
I have this attitude towards split albums in which I almost always feel that they are neither a good representation of the bands, don't comprise a real strong overall concept or have one band completely overtake the other in a hail of bullets and fire. In the case of Bosque and Senthil's split, out on Pale Horse Records, my bias towards the split album / ep format and the reasons supporting my bias are crushed, chopped up and eaten. Not only does this split show both Bosque and Senthil doing what they do well. Neither band totally decimates the other in quality (though I personally like the doomier, more blackened and melancholy Bosque tracks) and instead, both bands compliment each other's material nicely. The split showcases two bands with their own particular style of blackened funeral doom noise but in a setting that allows them to blend and work conceptually together.
This split is one of the few I have heard that comes across having a particular encompassing feel throughout both sides of the release. So while images of graves, empty mausoleums, vacated torture chambers and vast empty skies will generally haunt you, there is an overall crushing weight of anticipation that has found a place to linger in this release. It swells and emanates from the Bosque tracks and is rewarded in the chaos of the Senthil hymns.
The Bosque side of the split, "Under The Capricorn Sky," renders watching the heaven's collapsing down onto them, but watching the event through the eyes of a single depressed soul, euphorically waiting for the demise of all life. The slow, plodding of the tracks, particularly "Part II," lets you enjoy every moment of the fall of mankind. Brisk sweeping melodies occasionally appear, like desolate winds, drifting across the music. The harmoniousme imaging a populace "Part III" is the culmination of the disastrous events in similar form as watching an avalanche close in on you. The tumbling tones of all the Bosque tracks are unique and something worth losing yourself in. While most of the vocals are of a screeched, insane variety, similar to Countess, there are moaning chanting moments as well which give the tracks a ritualistic feel to them. The Bosque tracks end with an anticipatory section drifting off in subdued melody, wandering into the long dark night, allowing the lights to close in.
If "Under The Capricorn Sky" is the disastrous event, Senthil's "Premeditation" is the aftermath of suffering. Once again, this theme of anticipation is prevalent. Premeditation's "Part I" is much like walking through a kennel run by animals yet holding humans in cages. The myriad voices and rich textures envelope the senses. Much more noise shines through on this side of the split; high pitched squeals, obscure distant clanking, drugged out psychotic barking. Through much of the first track, a throbbing droning tone is prevalent, at once giving way to bizarre horn fellatio which, to my ears, vaguely plays broken parts of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (mainly "Introduction"). The psychotic barks, voices and disgruntled pleas resume after brief respite once more ejaculated to simple percussion choices. "Part I" ends with a vomit orchestra playing incorrectly tuned tubas and flutes. Imagine that if you can. If you can't find yourself a copy. "Part II" builds nicely for the first several minutes, at times even bordering on beautiful and serene, an absolute juxtaposition to the first part of Senthil's contribution. This spark of solemnity degenerates into more vocal insanity. At times I wanted to laugh at some of the vocal moments though I couldn't bring myself to such release, as I immediately imagined living next to some guy in his basement tracking all these vocal takes. It scared me slightly to imagine myself hearing these noises trying to sleep.
Though both sides of the split offer different experiences, they seem to be part of a single, two part tribulation. Though for me, Senthil's side of the split is a bit too random and chopped up, it deserves a place in any Silencer fan's collection if their tastes vary between the black metal and the funeral doom. The wails and general vocal experimentation would surely capture the ears of fans this side of the spectrum. Myself being less a fan of vocals and more a fan of music, found the two Senthil tracks to be less intriguing than the Bosque side of the split which seemed much more composed and thought out. Though I enjoyed "Part II" of the Senthil tracks for the wonderful building arch of sound smashed together, the degeneration into more vocal bewilderment turned me off at times. The production throughout this spit was adequate and allowed the bands to capture their music without giving up much in return. I would have loved to hear the Bosque tracks with a slightly better production given their general excellent composition and melodic intertwining. I can't say that the production was a detriment however and in hindsight, had the Bosque tracks had a better production, "Under The Capricorn Sky" would have greatly overshadowed Senthil's "Premeditation, leading to an out of balance release.
Pale Horse Records