Saturday 14 May 2016

SUMAC - What One Becomes (Album Review)

Release date: June 10th 2016. Label: Thrill Jockey Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

What One Becomes – Tracklisting

1.Image of Control
2.Rigid Man
3.Clutch of Oblivion
5. Will to Reach

Band Members:

Aaron Turner
Brian Cook
Nick Yacyshyn


This is heavy music on a slightly progressive scale, made by skinless forms not unlike chunks of meat flesh. It consists of many sounds parts, including distortion, feedback, clamouring, pounding, screaming and overall damage. The vocals are straight from the obituary column. All the songs are long, clocking in over 9 minutes and the longest song tops 17 minutes in duration.

I will let the songs speak for themselves...

Image of Control - The introduction of this record and inception of the first song begins with what sounds like the cacophonous and painful birth of Neanderthals who immediately rise to find instruments that were buried within the earth beside them and instinctively bang on these musical tools to create a hostile and minimalistic soundscape. The progression of the song builds structure, but sonically, it remains rudimentarily harsh and fundamentally brash. This is exposed nerve flesh twitching like afterbirth born in a salt mine.

Rigid Man - After the previous song documenting the sounds of atrocious birth comes the next instalment that shows a strengthening of the musical phrase architecture amidst the residual chaos. The softer section of this song reminds me of the kind of tremulous sound waves you might hear emitted from a huge gray colored harp, plucked by an old witch's arthritic hand, the kind of strums that recede into the black compartments of the unconscious mind. The song erupts back into life like the tail of a thresher shark in attack mode.

Clutch Of Oblivion - A tune evoking the soft and the eerie, providing instructions that indicate your errors are not mistakes, but rather the language of the ancients. The song blooms into twisted guitars, uninhibited drums and guttural screams, the soundtrack for the self righteous prig who ingested the nature beware, tell tale blood hued flowers, toxic in all their poisons.

Blackout - Drums accompany the static along with screams that may be borderline cannibalistic. Repetition through distorted guitar strumming and skittish drum head clangs, all bent and determined to memorialize the arduous symphony cry...'hail to the triumphant nomad'.

Will To Reach - Double time march of drum percussion, metallic machine gun riffage, and battle cry type wails, transform into a progressive interlude and reflection period that traverses off course, fastidiously ringing the distorted slaughter house bell comprised of instruments with non stop, unforgivable, conveyor belt purposes. This is free association for a psychopath.

This album contains the pulse of a newborn race of overlords. This is sheer permafrost and you will find nothing warm here. It is the musical score of primal resources attracting morose interests. It is the guitar that provides utter pollution, alongside relentless drum skin throbbing, all amidst curdled vocals of death. This album fulfils the basic human need found within the core foundation of heavy music. Pick up a wooden club, hold it up to the red sun and beat your chest like a man-beast. All hail the almighty Sumac...

Words by Nick Palmisano

What One Becomes will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Thrill Jockey Records from June 10th 2016.