UK industrial doom Armalyte Industriestrespass, Concrete Lung, has never been reserved in exposing the raw surfaces of the senses and the textural causticity of thoughts and emotions with its sonically visceral sound yet it is hard to remember the Manchester band creating a tempest as debilitating and compelling as The Ecstasy Of Emptiness. The new album offers eight tracks of aural extremity and psychological severity which even with the fear and nightmares evoked has drawn us eagerly back time and time again.
The solo sonic enmity of Ed Oxime, Concrete Lung left bodies feeling blissfully wasted and violated with previous album Fumes yet now as magnetic a ravening as that was the 2017 released intrusion was equally laying the seeds for the creative infraction and fervid acrimony fuelling and shaping The Ecstasy Of Emptiness. As its title suggests, the new full-length immerses ears and thoughts in the deepest light devouring, emotionally sapping realms but with a captivation which eats away at the senses and imagination as malevolently and readily as the sounds breeding it.
It all begins with Asphalt God, two spleen spilling minutes revealing the excoriated landscape to be subsequently exposed and explored in varying ways thereon in within the release. Effortlessly alone, it provoked body and thought before A Violent Stimulator stepped forward to devour air and safety. With a resonating clang and brutal carefully chosen rhythmic swipes as its lingering tread, the track crawls over the senses; air befouling guitars and bass as predatory as Oxime’s cancerous tones and as much as the urge was to escape, it proved a beguiling transgression.
Medicated follows, immediately abrasing already beleaguered senses with its sonic sanding. A dark rumble brews behind it, darkening and intensifying an unbeneficial climate which rather than alleviate the effects of its predecessor’s canker compounds it before Dream Distortion brings its own esurient contagion upon the listener. The leaden grumble at its rhythmic core was slavery enough but with the infliction of industrial piping and gut wrenching vocals around melody envenomed grooves and twists, the unpredictable track proved mercilessly intoxicating taking favourite moment honours.
Voices In The Ice soon had its say on that choice though, its senses chilling initiation soon becoming a glacial devouring as hulking and dextrously ponderous as it is enthrallingly numbing with Self Portrait In A Vacant Room courtesy of its completely different design of sonic molestation feeding upon the debris like an aural parasite. Its heartbeat alone is pure toxicity, the corroded air around it life sapping yet again it made for instinctive captivation as rewarding as it is debilitating. For six minutes the track simply devours, never deviating from its gluttony but all the while teasing with fresh texturing and psyche provoking intimation.
The final pair of Saline River (Damage) and the album’s title track similarly nag away at body and emotions. The first rises from a sonic shimmer, a cold wave bred melody and breath seducing and enveloping attention as Oxime similarly offers disturbance tinted calm in his tones and words. Even so its fringes and air is distilled with a toxic tempestuousness which never surges across the senses but keeps them and the imagination on their guard. The track is superb, another major peak of the releases in its lofty landscape which its successor emulates with its sanity chafing reverberation and subsequent vocal corruption and atmospheric putrefaction.
As the album itself, The Ecstasy Of Emptiness is absorbing and fascinating; the release as a whole as haunting as it is damaging and as emotionally cathartic as it is crippling. Ok, Concrete Lung and its striking new incursion will not be for all, but for those with an appetite and desire to breach the very darkest depths of their soul and sanity with the perfect soundtrack alongside, The Ecstasy Of Emptiness is the richest manna.
The Ecstasy Of Emptiness is out now via Armalyte Industries; available @ https://concretelung.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 13/04/2020
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