Recently unveiled, The Incident at Black Lake is the new EP from Canadian metallers ALL ELSE FAILS. Turbulence and torment shape its heart, raw reflection and dissonance its presence, it all embroiled in the enterprise and imagination the quartet has already lured rich attention and recognition with. It is also a record which challenges its creators as the listener, a release drawing out the most honest and anguished emotions within.
It is a proposition which the band began writing as Covid took hold, a confinement which gave us all time to reflect and delve deep within. The lyrics of Barrett Klesko reveal a period where his own mental well-being was in the darkest of places, the songs and release described by the vocalist/guitarist as being “specifically about his spiral into mental illness.” That intimacy fuels every aspect of an encounter and exploration which also sees the band using that pandemic seized time to concentrate on every element of the EP like never before. Two years in the making, The Incident at Black Lake is described as “a horrifically personal, furiously aggressive, and unnervingly beautiful musical story of mental terror and surviving despair”, the realisation of that statement and the most striking moment with ALL ELSE FAILS yet swiftly immersing ears through its opener.
I, Defiler rises on a fanfare of sorts, already distortion in its pull which is emotively echoed in the tones of Klesko and bassist Coco Lee. With rhythms a firm trespass and guitars casting a web of toxic tempting, the track weaves a tapestry of claustrophobic tension and beauty bound enterprise. Every second brings new emotional dissonance and creative adventure, the rhythms of Lee and drummer Nelson Collins driving the first and John Saturley’s guitar wiring the second. It is a striking start to the EP, taking thoughts and emotions into a pit of toxicity and intimate destruction but equally casting a melancholic but radiantly arresting realm to align with the darkness.
Featuring former bassist Seedy Mitchell, Devour the Sun follows to cast its own compelling descent into the deepest turmoil, again a journey set within creative and sonic imagination and craft. Seductive calms and hostile eruptions align in its contemplation, the guitars threading captivating lures around caustic trespass. Similarly, vocals unite antipathy and sufferance twisted delivery with harmonic angst as the track bears its tempestuous depths.
As in the emotional and mental pain explored so the songs within the EP defy assumption and broad appraisal, next up Flesh/Excess/Wealth equally a wealth of surprise and unpredictability within a mercurially toned and ravenously sprung landscape. Revealing more by the listen and taking favourite track honours, the song evolves and revolves like a kaleidoscope of emotional and physical dispute, every detail absorbing the imagination with its own and the body with its cathartic invention and insurgency.
Crystal Mountain completes the release, a ravening of the senses with its own shade and dynamic of ferocious aggression, inner turbulence, and scorched beauty. The final captivating tempest in the involving and gripping upheaval that is The Incident at Black Lake, it ensured the release departed on a lofty high.
The EP itself is a cyclone of melodic metalcore fire, death metal toxicity and progressive imagination revealing ALL ELSE FAILS at their most open, intense and thrilling.
The Incident at Black Lake is out now; available @ https://allelsefails.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 10/10/2022
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