Simultaneously a flight into celestial exploration and a drop through virtual pestilential darkness, Commission the Twelve the new album from US Avant/doom-gaze sculptors Mountains Among Us, is an exploration which is as terrifying as it is enrapturing. The five-track release is an intensive and formidable proposition, one to challenge and test but similarly one to provide the imagination and senses with a bracing and rigorously rewarding experience. It is a long-term investment for thoughts and emotions through a compelling discovery which imposes and lingers.
Formed in 2007 by Brandon Helms of From Oceans To Autumn, the North Carolina based band first made their impact and intentions known with debit album True North in 2008. It was a striking encounter and presence pushed further by its successor Believer two years later. The next year or so saw the band working on some experimental recordings/EP’s before setting down to work on creating Commission the Twelve. The new album sees the band creating their finest moment yet, pushing their limits and sounds into new dark and intrusive territories but similarly investigating greater boundaries and reflections of light and emotions within their powerfully expressive and enthralling dramatic soundscapes. The instrumental examination is not always an easy listen, or always offers a welcoming accessibility, but it does cast a seductively blackened canvas and incendiary landscape for thoughts and imagination to unleash their darkest and deepest emotions.
Mountains Among Us consumes ears and senses immediately with Centurion, guitars making the first gentle abrasing before rhythms descend feverishly as those same guitars expand their corrosive yet enticing enticement. It is an uncompromising start which enslaves attention and an awakening appetite before relaxing into a soaring causticity of melodic imagination and sonic intrigue, one still veined with a rhythmic intimidation and the captivating throaty bait of the bass. As with each track, numerous listens sparks varied interpretation from thoughts and emotions, here its heavy textures and dramatic structures the incitement to a myriad of reflections and mental designs.
The harsh but invigorating climate of the song is matched by the following Atonement, its opening touch just as potently acidic and mesmeric in its melodic toxicity, strengthening and expanding its sirenesque persuasion with clearer veining of sonic ingenuity and the ever bewitching bass tempting and call. The enveloping ambience and sludge spawned tenacity of the track leads the listener into a unique exploration aside of its predecessor but both equally feel linked and part of the same demanding and exhaustive journey. It is an epic quest which by the slip into a gentler raw caress mid-way has lungs and senses gasping for breath and by the completion of its twelve minutes, has emotions clawing out for a feeling of security, but with so much going on and twists and corners to be discovered continually the song makes for a riveting study and emotional emprise.
Walls bursts in next and immediately has a raw predatory tone to the riffs and voracious intent to the rhythms. There is a liveliness at large compared to the atmospheric doom drenched bodies of the first two tracks but still with a smothering intensity and exacting uncompromising to its heavy weight metal invention which traps and encases the senses in a portentous and rapacious oppression. The bass yet again stands out, the production giving it room to breathe in its diverse offerings amidst thick tides and colossal winds of sonic causticity alongside the melodically nurtured ambience. Again thoughts and emotions inspired are individual to all and shifting with every encounter but always unreservedly alive and basking in the mutually hostile and vitalising exploit.
The outstanding Mortal Life like the last song also brings a standalone terrain to immerse within, its opening stoner-esque scrub of guitar soaked in the desert bred invention of a Kyuss or QOTSA before the ever expansive post rock imagination of Mountains Among Us ventures into a blistered land of sonic grazing and melodic searing within a poetic atmosphere clad in emotional judgement and inciting observation. The song is a fascinating intrusion and mental inspiration, stirring up different facets of thoughts before the closing Farewell Discourse from a melodramatic opening of piano and distantly teasing chords spreads into an epic and cavernous absorption. Every aspect and twist of the track is a loud declaration of the new experimentation and craft in the composing and sound of Mountains Among Us.
As suggested earlier Commission the Twelve is not always a smooth investigation for ears and emotions, at times the tracks pushing their limits in length though not to any truly distractive issues to be fair, but for experimental rock and metal which takes every dimension of the listener into the most challenging yet rewarding depths, the album is a highly recommended probation.
Commission the Twelve is available physically and digitally from Argonauta Records now and @ http://mountainsamongus.bandcamp.com/album/commission-the-twelve
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