|Release:||From Fiery Tongues|
|Genre:||Doom Metal, Post-Metal|
|Release Date:||13th of June, 2022|
|Released via||Electric Spark|
|Cover Artwork||Ronaldo Vivo, Jr.|
At the beginning of 2022, fierce Grind combo Abanglupa released their debut album that found strong resonance within the community. Seeing the light of day as a DIY product of two brothers from the Philippines, this release was impressing due to several reasons. Now, only a few months later, those brothers strike back again with yet another project they started from scratch, presenting you the debut album of Doom Metal band Basalt Shrine. With their debut release Of Fiery Tongues that came via numerous labels, this band showcases that those brothers easily switch between genres.
When the album opens up, the first track “Thawed Slag Blood” serves with a massive amount of atmosphere. Whispers in the background are underlined with a whirring guitar sound. The whistling of the wind is then accompanied by a repetitive chant in the background that eventually culminates opening the album. On the second track “In The Dirt’s Embrace,” the term dirt alone already helps pointing out what exact sound is going to hit you. The sludgiest, filthiest of slow tunes immediately encapsulate you with thick, distorted and muddy guitars that are supported by Punk drums and distorted screaming vocals that already seem to remind of a strong Black Metal influence.
The smud this music is immersed in is immensely overwhelming right from the start. The guitars get you going with chunky riffs on low frequencies, while the drums offer altering, extraordinary patterns to underline the slow pace this music primarily chooses. Combined with the insanely fierce vocals, it feels as if Eyehategod had had an affair with Xasthur. The layering of these instruments builds an astounding symbiosis so that even less complex and more Punk-driven sequences sound amazingly furious, taking everything you can get from Sludge influences and pushing it through major distortion.
The sound of this album can primarily be divided into two sections that are in interaction on all of the tracks. First of all opening with the aforementioned heavily smudgy sound that praises all the pioneers within the spheres in which this album moves. This alone is already worth listening to the entire release. However, the perfect match is made up by combining this sound with the warmth of the ambience that the second sections brings along. As an example, right in the middle of “In The Dirt’s Emrace,” the pressure of the sound is brought to a halt and we’re swimming in a majestic ambience that has you think of ISIS immediately.
Out of a sudden, the listener is right in the middle of a beautiful soundscape with clean vocals, acoustic phase guitars, slow drums and embracing warmth. After having been beaten black and blue with the sequences before, we get to contemplate on the previous song elements – of course only for a little while before being pushed back right into the fury of what happened before.
While the interaction between these diverging genres still plays a key role at the cuts on “In The Dirt’s Embrace,” it feels as if the genre boundaries are progressively merged during the following tracks on the album. Basalt Shrine manage to induce the Post-Metal sound into their Sludge foundation more and more naturally. On “Adorned For Loathing Pigs” as an example, the Post-Metal sequence also takes place in the middle of the track, yet the wrathful sound of the instruments subtly finds its way into the nuances of the ambient tone. On the fourth track, which also marks the title track of the album, the ambient sequence then marks the intro of the track while being tagged with Sludge elements right from the beginning. The jumps in and out of the contemplating atmosphere become more abrupt and overlapping, the gritty vocals are now also on top of the calm sound and everything seems to become one.
The final track “The Barren Aftermath” then works as the welcoming epilogue of this album, fully embracing the amazingly executed Post-Metal elements on track-length in order to find your way out of this release.
While reading this, it feels that merely the idea of merging these genres alone already lead to the great sound that can be heard on From Fiery Tongues. This is, however, a misconception, which is why I wanted to add that especially the perfect execution of the instruments adds up to the fact that this record is so damn convincing. Once again, a great record is distinguished to a large extent by its drums that are in my opinion absolutely outstanding. The altering patterns as the groundwork for this sound are just damn great. Apart from that, though, both vocals as well as guitars of course also play a big role in setting up the entire soundscape this release showcases. I’m still new to the entire Sludge genre and only found time to get to know contemporary representatives and considerable originators.
It took some time for me to find my way into this genre with all its facets but this has something that combines Metal and Punk that I absolutely favor. What is presented on this debut by Basalt Shrine convinced me by storm, since playing with the styles as it can be found on this album harmonizes perfectly. Once more, the Vivo Brothers convince that they are perfectly capable to adapt to whatever sound they intend to generate.