With our current times increasingly reassembling something out of the world’s most cack dystopian thriller flick, it’s no wonder so many people are turning their heads to the visually bleak aesthetic animated by post-rock and metal artists. However, the Sheffield post-metal outlet Archelon are a band that have long basked in the harrowed majesty associated with the genre, long before the world went dark. A band that’s approach to the genre is utterly monochromatic and joyless, Archelon have returned with a surprise EP, titled Descending Into The Void. Whilst the EP is split into two singular movements, titled ‘Descending’ and ‘Into The Void’ respectively, Archelon pack more substance into this offering than a lot of bands do into full length long plays.
The group’s 2018 debut full length Tribe Of Suns fully disclosed Archelon’s aptitude for metallic musical endeavours at their most aggressive and dynamic - a penchant for violence that allowed the band to share stages with the likes of Leeched, Vile Creature and even American thrash legends Soulfly. However, the tooth gnarled bloodshed within this EP has been diluted in favour of the band expanding on their more melancholic and melodic aspects. Recorded within closeted confines of the group’s practise space, Descending Into The Void is an intimate and claustrophobic affair, one that mirrors the bleak draconian times we are experiencing and one that foreshadows the unpromising future ahead. It’s certainly a slow burner, but one that harbours the pensive atmosphere that gradually accumulates over the passage of the two movements.
‘Descending’ establishes the tone of this record finely. Sombre and painfully sober melodics and shyly composed funeral riffs are accompanied by Georgian murmurs that break into pained and anguished dual bellows, all prior to establishing into ironised walls of noise that radiate strength, hostility and most poignantly of all, circling bitterness. Throughout the initial movement, elements of Cult Of Luna, Mogwai and even faint hopeless Godspeed You! Black Emperor ambience inter-blend in a fashion that’s unfiltered. The raw production of this release only animates the devastation and callous nature of it’s contents. Descending Into The Void just feels miserably ashen in a fashion most great, something that’s highlighted with the second movement, ‘Into The Void’.
Within this second track, the hulking and rusted riffs of their past return all without plunging the release into the animosity of musical violence. Even with the colossal Bossk-esque riffs thrashing and the post-metal screams roaring into the desolation, the record still enjoys a choking atmosphere of ghostly dread that’s synonymous with doom at it’s most atmospheric. This may sound intense – for it is – but the hidden intricacies are fully stark here. This a record of patience, one that gifts the listener catharsis with their diligence and mediation.
The recent warmth and sun may be a bit of a contrast, but this record just feels perfect for the empty, soulless streets and towns that lie decaying right now - It’s a record not for the end of the days, but the days that come after. Yes, some may be deterred by the utterly unrelenting cheerlessness of this release, but if you’re in need of a compelling and authentically DIY record that has complete synergy with the current times, dive into Descending Into The Void.
Descending Into The Void is out now via Surviving Sounds Records. Purchase the EP here.