Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jute Gyte - Vast Chains (2014)

You know, one day I'm probably going to make a weekend out of revisiting these DVD-shelled Jute Gyte albums, and when I do, it's not likely that Vast Chains will rank as the favorite. Yet this is hands down one of the most fascinating and fucked up products he's produced, memorable not for that alone, but for Adam Kalmbach's continued ability to stretch at, and tear through those amorphous membranes of stylistic convention that so dearly require disintegration if extreme metal is to overrun the roadblocks it often seems to set up for itself. Perhaps the most accurate means I could summon forth to describe this would be as a grand disjunction of black, death, thrash, doom and post-punk aesthetics as translated by a deep schizophrenic so beyond treatment that he or she was locked in the asylum basement and nearly forgotten...only the Bizarro World of that situation.

You'll recognize the use of microtonal riffing if you've experienced last year's Discontinuities, only rather than repeating that album, he's interpreted the technique into a more unpredictable, angular geometry that throws you curve balls in almost every track on the album. Songs are divided into harsher passages of insectoid, bristling dissonance, or springier and cleaner riffs set off against distorted dementia, with the tempos fluxed between the faster black metallic rushes of his prior works and a slower, creepier miasma of impenetrable doom that is compounded by the fresh intervals being picked and strummed. I couldn't even begin to accurately compare this to anything outside of Jute Gyte's own body of work, but strange word puzzles like 'Philip Glass being filtered through the unwashed demos of the stranger LLN bands' seem to pop into my imagination as I'm listening. That this is a difficult experience goes without saying, he's never been all about the comfort of music but rather in seeking that comfort through unusual circumstances, and yet there is certainly a consistent set of traits (certain rhythm guitar tones, drum tracking) that fasten these Chains into a fairly cohesive album...or at least as cohesive as any strain of madness I've encountered.

Probably my favorite tracks were "The Inexpressible Loneliness of Thinking", which was like having a few gallons of effluvia dumped upon my head after being pumped through an Escher-designed sewer sytem, and "Endless Moths Swarming" which becomes so bonkers nearing the bridge that it's almost comical. In fact, this sense of black humor permeates the entirety of the disc, but not for cheap laughs, for unbridled horror. It would also be remiss to not mention how damned excellent the lyrics's pretty early on in 2014, and I've often enjoyed Kalmbach's words as much if not more than the compositions they represent, but these are superb even among the esteemed crowd of his past releases, and the best I've read so far this year. On the flip side, there are definitely a couple riffs here that simply aren't ugly enough to live up to others, so there's a sense of clashing and contrast which doesn't always subdue the listener levelly. I also thought his raving snarled vocals were superior to the death grunts, as you can compare in the first tune "Semen Dried into the Silence of Rock and Mineral", but it's strange to say that these are the most sanity-tethered components of the album, which is just this tornado of disjointed nightmares whipping across the plains of Missouri. Recommended with the lights on, but're on your own there, friends.

Verdict: Win [8/10] (solitude may rust your words)

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