Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Austere - Withering Illusions and Desolation (2007)

There is no serenity, only suffering. There is no hope, only death. And there is nothing quite like depressive black metal from Wollongong. 55 minutes of desolate misery, an aural equivalent to anti-Prozac and the unofficial soundtrack to your suicide.

Given that Austere come from a country where the summer temperature can average in excess of 40 degrees (or 100 for you none metricated barbarians) this is an unexpected excerise in arctic dirge. Slow burning and melancholic it's awash with ethereal distortion and mid-paced drums. The production is wispy and distant, and perhaps a little ruff around the edges but is the perfect complement to the smothering atmosphere. Vocally, this album transcends from the depressive to the truly disturbing. It evokes the death whistle of Nazgul(Ita) via the Noktu/Niege/Varg shrieking anguish. Completely unintelligible yet brutally appropriate.

It would serve little purpose to delineate each tracks merits given that the album appears to function as a whole. The template remains nearly identical for each song. However, the album sucks you in and swallows you whole, carrying you from each track to the next on a bed of icy stalagmites.

If you want blast beats, whirlwind riffs and infinite variety seek ye elsewhere. If you feel like slicing off your ears and crying yourself to sleep in a bath of ice shards, delve into Withering Illusions and Desolation.


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