ABSENT IN BODY – Plague God

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ABSENT IN BODY is a supergroup hosting members and ex-members of AMENRA, NEUROSIS, and SEPULTURA, namely Mathieu J. Vandekerckhove, Scott Kelly, Colin H. Van Eeckhout, Igor Cavelera. Their sound is best described as subscribing to the now almost three-decades long school of post-metal – in this case with a strong sludge influence and some industrial leanings.

Plague God is their debut album, albeit their real first output was the limited single The Abyss Stares Back – Vol. V showcasing an almost twenty-minute long self-titled track, published by Belgian label Hypertension Records in 2017. The listener should expect a heavy but slow sound with spacious downtuned guitars and eerie, dark soundscapes built on existential dread and sparse melancholic oases. Likewise the themes of the album are ones of poetic nihilism delivered via stream-of-consciousness, pitch-black in their sorrow and reflection about mortality and worthlessness.

Plague God is their debut album, albeit their real first output was the limited   single The Abyss Stares Back – Vol. V showcasing an almost twenty-minute long self-titled track, published by Belgian label Hypertension Records in 2017. The listener should expect a heavy but slow sound with spacious downtuned guitars and eerie, dark soundscapes built on existential dread and sparse melancholic oases. Likewise the themes of the album are ones of poetic nihilism delivered via stream-of-consciousness, pitch-black in their sorrow and reflection about mortality and worthlessness.

The work starts with Raise From Ruins and its crawling, cinemating atmosphere enforced from tribal rhythms and sudden burst of droning distorted guitars and coarse vocal delivery. Suspended moments and suave yet dark melodies guide us toward existential malebolgias. in Spirit In Spite follows suit adding industrial slow kicks and a final section graced by delicate clean vocals and like-minded guitar melodies, while Sarin is a sludge monolith built upon obsessive riffs intermixed with heavily filtered vocals and oppressive atmospheres.

The Acres/The Ache returns to tribal underlines in its intro before dwelling in immersive and eerie ambiances informed by contemporary doom and post-rock soundscapes, and the final title-track is a full realization of the album both in music and themes: a slow crescendo made of severe sounds, nocturnal effects, droning reverbered synths and marching, heavy beats, ready to explode in a gargantuan dark parade with almost orchestral undertones in its glorious climax.

Plague God is a monochrome work with more in common with ambient and drone music than metal as usually conceived, an experience informed by the previous and current bands of the musicians here involved, as well as by Godflesh, Lustmord and other artists. Its not an album to be listened in broad daylight – a very personal and immersive session is required, possibly in the dark.

Release date: March 25th, 2022.

Text by: Davide Pappalardo.

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