Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Servile Sect - "TRVTH" (2011) [Handmade Birds Records]

Evolution is a natural part of art; it is not something to be forced or approached, rather an organic progression. Aesthetics, sound, look, and meaning will change over time, seeing as no sane man is a static being, creating a moving line over which the product moves. Ever shifting, the art that survives is a slight chameleon of sorts, being able to change just enough to remain true to its core, yet different enough from its previous incarnation to hold the interest of the artist, its original fanbase, and a new crowd so that it may be appreciated further. When I first heard Servile Sect's Stratospheric Passenger back in 2007, I immediately understood that this cross-country experimental black metal duo, comprised of Luke Krnkr (Sadness Saturn, ITHI) and Nhate Clmnt (Golden Raven, Ash Borer), was already extremely advanced, making artistic evolution a sensitive and intricate process. With a cassette, Eternal Mind, released on Senseless Empire last year and Realms of the Queen, released earlier this year on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label, we see Servile Sect demonstrating a tasteful descent into the avant-garde, producing challenging, thoughtful releases as often as they can.

When Texas label Handmade Birds Records announced the future, now today, release of a new Servile Sect album, I was ecstatic, and, upon receiving the wonderfully packaged pink/green splatter LP (check out the layout here), I was absolutely in awe at the fantastic album laid at my feet. Split stylistically into two different sides, Servile Sect offers their two sonic profiles, two entirely different entities, on a single, incredible LP.

Side A is unlike anything I've ever heard before. Strange, droning, at times shimmering experimental music comprised of field recordings, disembodied voices, bitcrushed drum machines, and many other textures of which I can't even pinpoint. Side A is the eerie calm before the storm; you are lulled into a trance but have that gut feeling that something isn't really...right. Something is going to happen, maybe bad, good, you are unsure, but it will be beautiful and of that you are certain. Your body is drifting through space. Are you dead? The thought does not really matter, you are too busy marveling at the heavens that surround you. Suddenly you feel the sensation of being pulled towards something. Overcome by paralyzing fear, you see it; the black hole. Imminent doom. You fall into it.

Side B showcases Servile Sect's more black metal, but still experimental, side. Running the gamut from intense, blasting black metal to introspective, progressive rock-inspired guitar jams (around 12 minutes in), to kraut-rocky psych jams, this much more "accessible" counterpart to the first side is Servile Sect crowning themselves as the kings of experimental black metal. You've fallen through the black hole and found yourself in a new world of color; crystalline prisms that project images onto the sky (is it called "the sky" here?). At first you are horrified - where are you, anyway? But you succumb to the overwhelming beauty that surrounds you and you drift for all eternity.

You don't need a manifesto or some crazy "Earth First" affiliations to make your band memorable, you need exceptional music and, because they're just that lucky, Servile Sect produces exceptional music in spades. TRVTH, through it's unique takes on a tired genre, has proven itself to be one of the most impressive listens, not just in black metal, I've had this year. Be sure to grab this super limited LP at musician and entrepreneur R. Loren's Handmade Birds Records and, if you dig artist Kevin Gan Yuen's artwork as much as I do, stop on by the ViralOptic website and check out his other fantastic works.


1 comment:

  1. Great review: thanks for the words! you guys can also check out viraloptic.com // more of a portfolio and less process.


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