It has been four and a half years since hardcore fury Centuries scorched this earth with their debut album Taedium Vitae, time we can say thanks to its successor which has not seen the band mellow a degree. In fact The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding reveals the band’s sound has become even more sonically and emotionally irritable yet honed into a tempest of noise and intent as precise in its aim and impact as it is rousing in its nagging causticity.
The years between releases has also seen the 2008 formed band’s line-up evolve to now include members based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Nashville, Tennessee, and Manchester in the UK. Similarly the Centuries sound has grown and matured; its dark hardcore breeding embracing even richer crust and metal hues amidst bolder adventure. It is imposing, invasive, and persistently tormented; a harrowing and severely intense mix which also manages to be violently infectious and increasingly cathartic. Carrying a theme of constant self-doubt, “It follows how we choose to accept our loses and the reaction to life, as well as the journey we take to make peace with the demons we’ve made”, the air is a searing soundscape once more within their creative tempest just one more grievous, blacker, and inescapably compelling.
Recorded with by Kris Hilbert at Legitimate Business (Catharsis, Torch Runner, The Body) last year and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Integrity, Black Breath, Halshug), The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding first scores the senses with its title track. Initial silence soon brews an electronic lure, its impending incursion quickly joined by vocal irritancy and a raw scarring of guitar. Just as swiftly it all unites in an insatiable charge, rhythms wildly yet precisely flung as acidic grooves tempt and abrase but an inhospitable surge as catchy and irresistible as it is punishing, and quite superb.
The outstanding start continues with Wooden Hands; it’s first coaxing an intimate acoustic melody, its second down an inviting line offering a furious expulsion of senses crippling beats, scavenging riffs, and vocal discontent. As the first, it has an instinctive infectiousness, an organic swing to a sonic chastisement which grips the imagination and manages to enhance rather than defuse the song’s vehemence.
Bygones is next up with barely two minutes of infernal confrontation. It is barbarous and unforgiving yet too has that contagious ability to tease and manipulate with virulent traits before Soil unleashes its own ruinous tirade. With a sludge thick weight but no less boisterous in its creative and physical mauling, the track prowls the listener, stalking their psyche before giving it a hellacious clubbing. As in all tracks though, the mayhem is finely sculpted and skilfully woven, every twist a fresh coercion into the heart of turbulence.
The following Bow Across A String sends a cascade of corrosion across the senses, every rhythm and riff putting them under duress but equally exciting them while each unpredictable turn in its caustic exploration has ears hooked and imagination challenged and aroused. Closing on the most excruciatingly intrusive yet addictive repetitious sonic yawn, the track leads into the meandering arms of The Climb. Its grooved vining wraps around the senses with ease as vocals scour their lining, muggy smog emerging to envelope the inviting bait and subsequently collude with equal potency with them as the track worms its nefarious way under the skin.
A delicious causticity of bass opens up The Endless Descent, its insidious grumble soon met by the raw throated assault of vocals and together triggering another highly addictive scourge of deliciously grooved bullying which only gets more captivating and debilitating by the second. That majestic ability to entangle extremes continues through the portentously shadowed May Love Be With You Always, its relentless rhythmic shuffle alone sheer captivation matched by the tapestry of guitar and groan of the menace brooding bass. The track is a maelstrom of sound and intent, a vortex of intensity which ebbs and flows but persistently pressures and pleasures as a host of flavours infuse its incursion.
A sepia toned clean vocal beckoning opens up Fury next, its dusty air shared by another mesmeric acoustic melody. It is an enthralling request for attention which boils up its emotions and air into a melancholically hazed wind and a proposition which bewitches before evolving into the rapacious climate of Nul Orietur. The outrage is a cyclone of suggestion and provocation, from the rolling enterprise of its rhythms and the inescapable snaring of its hooks and grooves to the scalding touch of its riffs and vocals, the album’s closer is another compelling assault to lead the album out on another major high.
With their debut Centuries made a major introduction to themselves, with The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding they have uncaged one of the essential hardcore furies of this or any year.
The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding is out now via Southern Lord Recordings and available @ https://centuriessl.bandcamp.com/album/the-lights-of-this-earth-are-blinding
Pete RingMaster 31/01/2018
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