Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Here's an interesting album from 2016 which has taken my fancy, and the band known as Inverloch boast an interesting history. From 1989 - 1993, there was a renowned death/doom-metal band from Melbourne by the name of dISEMBOWELMENT. For followers of extreme underground metal, they require no introduction. They are legends in the field. But since this blog rarely covers underground extreme metal, and probably attracts few readers enthused greatly by it, some history must be given.
I first learnt of them in 1993 after the release of their sole album, Transcendence Into The Peripheral, which was put out on the fairly nascent Relapse label (now a big-deal metal powerhouse) at the time and which saw them garner massive amount of worldwide praise in the respective underground press. But they never played a single show, and then they split up. And, perhaps most strangest of all, some of the members hailed from fucking Ivanhoe. For those outside of the suburban confines of Melbourne that will mean next to nothing, but let's put it this way: Ivanhoe is a leafy upper-bourgeois epicentre where nothing much of any note happens, ever. Especially in the realms of interesting music.
So anyway, I heard about this mysterious band, heard the CD at a friend's place a couple of times, noted its interesting take on death/grind/doom, but didn't take it any further. There was other fish to fry. However, let's note this: dISEMBOWELMENT (yes, it's always spelt that way)'s take on the 'genre' was rather special. In fact, what they were really doing was forging a new genre. They can certainly be considered pioneers in the world of funeral (or funereal) doom music. dISEMBOWELMENT's music was richly organic, loose, downtuned to the point of limb-rattling, and rather abstract. Vocals were often mere grunts and groans - tuned down to a realm where they sound like they're emanating from Satan's anus), and the mixture of blast beats and truly slo-mo musical crawl, perfectly blended, was deft and artful. Songs sounded like they were collapsing and picking themselves up again. They were leaps and bounds beyond the thousands of cookie-cutter grind/death/doom bands popping their heads up throughout the universe at the time. There was a deeply gothic element to their music which makes them richly rewarding 20+ years later. Investigate.
In the mid '90s I found myself working with dISEMBOWELMENT guitarist/singer (that's Renata Gallina)'s brother, Fabrizio, in a music warehouse, and we became friends (though I haven't touched base with him for about a decade). At this stage, his brother was playing in the ethno-avant-ambient duo TRIAL OF THE BOW with ex-dISEMBOWELMENT member Matthew Skarajew. They released an EP and full-length CD on the Release label (Relapse's experimental sub-label) in the mid '90s, then called it a day. Heavily influenced by Dead Can Dance, Jon Hassell and the like, their output remains highly listenable. Coincidentally, they had a song called 'Inverloch'.
Inverloch, for those in the state of Victoria, is a slightly odd name for a band. While the name has Scottish heritage, it's also the name of a popular coastal town here where families spend their holidays. I have managed to procure myself an Inverloch - the band Inverloch - t-shirt from Relapse's distributor here, and when I wear it, I get peculiar looks. Is that an Inverloch t-shirt, the holiday town? No, it isn't, And that brings me to Inverloch the band. They are a newish outfit featuring one half of dISEMBOWELMENT: Skarajew, also one half of Trial Of The Bow, and Paul Mazziotta. They have yet to play a show locally, I believe, although this week they are performing at the renowned (and highly interesting and eclectic) arts/music festival in Hobart, Dark Mofo, and then they're off to Europe. They have their debut LP/CD out (after an EP from last year), yet again on the Relapse label, Distance Collapsed, and it is a perfect follow-up to the music of dISEMBOWELMENT which was cooked up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne some 25 years ago. It came out a couple of months ago, and I have flogged the proverbial out of it and then some. Like their former band, the sound is loose and organic, never getting too technical (way too much death metal relies far too heavily on the pitter-patter of double kick pedals), mixing up blast beats with funereal doom. You could argue that they've gone musically nowhere in quarter of a century, or you could argue that they've held true to the sound they pioneered. Or you could not argue at all and just enjoy the fucking record. There are 5 tracks in 40 minutes: short, sweet, mixing the epic with a slice of brevity. It's not a record for every occasion, but when this shit's done well, it moves my heart and loins. Inverloch do it mightily, and Distance Collapsed is a great thing.