Irish mank-purveyor Ray Keenaghan has been keeping up a relatively steady stream of self-produced releases lately.
Since the good ship Wreck of the Hesperus tied its rotten timbers to the dock for the foreseeable future, he’s continued to provide us with music that’s been just as murky and grim as that choice ‘mental funeral doom’ band.
With the Gourd EP last year, he helped deliver a release that dredged its way through grinding guitar, odd and beguiling samples and highly unsavory soundscapes. It was a worthwhile, if typically demanding listen.
Beneath the Sod seems to be both more stripped down and more focussed in what it delivers. There are no long, meandering sections of diverse sound. The compositions are kept relatively short this time.
But talk about fetid noise.
This sounds like the drain that has been clogged with the fetid exoskeletons of WOTH’s noisier compositions, the parts that were judged too primeval for even that band’s use. These seem to have congealed into a organism all of its own, issuing forth emanations that are truly forsaken sounding.
We get groaning of the most woebegone nature.
We get stabbing, sudden outbreaks of drumming. A droning, brillo-pad-vs-brain guitar riff will appear occasionally and grind out its short, tortured existence. Samples show up, but are as often as not buried under the warring elements.
For what’s essentially a noise release, there’s an almost rapidfire nature to the tape. Like a bad dream that seems to be over but somehow resets again and again, the songs quickly appear with the promise of some sort of structure, before melting and self-destructing quite spectacularly.
Indeed, purveyors of the more twisted end of metal will find an aesthetic and commitment to pummeling here that is pleasing and actually pretty snappy.
For this reviewer, the best moments of ‘Under the Sod’ are when we get a little dose of something more coherent. The outro to ‘Treacherousness’ has the kind of overbearing pestilence that only a deathmarch riff and doomed-as-hell sounding synth can deliver. This clangs off into eternity with great aplomb.
Keenaghan has long since mastered the elements of this kind of rotten music. The guitars, drums and vocals are undeniably vicious.
This tape is effective in dishing out his creations with barely time for the listener to recover.
For now, we can only meditate on how rewarding it would be to hear him really knit these pieces together and produce an even more toxic tapestry – but the bile is kept concentrated here.
A final note: it’s great as ever to see Paul McCarroll deliver such twisted artwork. Comparing a similar concept used for Tenhi’s ‘Folk Aesthetic’ release shows how interpretations can vary.
3.5 / 5 – Lorcan Archer ::: 20/08/17