Right here I sit, in my dimly lit alcove, carrying my cherished battle elephant Transcending Obscurity tee, penning one other evaluation for a Transcending Obscurity launch. This one is for Finnish sludge doom band Lurk, and their upcoming mass of grime Aegis. I used to be reasonably smitten with 2016’s (2018’s in the event you observe signed launch dates) Fringe and its murky, swinging model of sludge steel. It was oppressive whereas additionally being fairly stunning, adeptly wielding a chilling environment that reduce to the bone as typically because it crushed bone to mud. Simply how seemingly is it, then, that Lurk might return seven years later with one other document of comparable sound and equal or higher high quality?
For higher or for worse, Lurk caught to what they know, and so they know environment. Aegis petrifies the backbone because it paints a most barren of landscapes for me to traverse, utilizing delicately curated results and tones to evoke an totally isolating environs. On the similar time, nonetheless, Aegis is monstrously heavy when it drops riffs that might devastate total continents. Persevering with the development of pairing two seemingly disparate attributes, Lurk accomplish one other unlikely feat of songwriting by combining an extremely sluggish and lumbering tempo with a belligerent blues swagger. This swing is the motor that drives the document ahead with deceivingly highly effective thrust throughout forty-three minutes of eerie, unsettling doom. Aegis additionally incorporates a better portion of loss of life steel aesthetics to spice the affair, often borrowing some added heft from labelmates Warcrab to maximise affect.
That delicate shift into deathlier territory paid huge dividends, simply as charring Fringe did seven years in the past. Opener “Ashlands” is nothing in need of densely muscular, presenting a tectonic riff that immediately shatters vertebrae and liquefies grey matter. “Infidel,” “Blood Surge,” and nearer “The Blooming” supply equally sinewy chunks of meaty sludge, irrevocably coating the mind with steaming gunk and bonding on the molecular stage with the reminiscence middle. Slowly, however absolutely, these monstrous tracks smother the whole lot round them with sharp and snappy cymbal clinks, crunchy guitars, and deafening bass drum pummels. However there’s an understated, darkish magnificence to these compositions as nicely. Within the areas between crushing riffs and percussive blows, disquieting clear picked melodies intrigue and entice, and a curious haze creeps in on the soundstage to envelop and ensnare (“Infidel,” “Hauta”). It’s a intelligent association that I ought to’ve seen coming from a mile away, as it’s Lurk’s specialty, however even nonetheless they managed to make use of it in opposition to me, luring me again into their grasp as soon as once more (particularly with the oddly memorable instrumental “Kehto”).
Whereas the entire document is sort of sturdy in all classes, from songwriting to tone to mixing, Aegis appears like extra of a lateral transfer in high quality in comparison with Fringe. New components paint the acquainted environs in a modified palette, but the core composition and construction stay unchanged. Due to this fact, so carried over are its flaws. Even at a decent forty-three minutes, the doom-laden piece introduces bloat in a number of locations. The aforementioned interlude is one such place, as you would possibly anticipate, however “The Blooming,” “Hauta” and “Shepherd’s Ravine” additionally battle. Inflated by segments that meander and waffle about, these tracks pad the areas between huge moments too closely. On one hand, that padding permits these sturdy passages to hit exhausting and depart a definite mark. On the opposite, overextending my reprieve earlier than putting once more permits me an excessive amount of restoration time, an excessive amount of alternative to organize for the following volley, and subsequently dulls subsequent blows.
Aegis is, definitely, Fringe’s equal. Each information are partaking, intelligent, and detailed, with sufficient momentum to hold me by way of with none lack of curiosity. Nevertheless, Lurk have but to push the needle previous that line behind which greatness awaits. With some tweaking, Lurk’s system might end in that barn-burning slab of deathly, blackened sludge. Because it stands immediately, I can not less than relaxation straightforward understanding that Lurk haven’t let me down, and that they continue to be one of many cooler and higher sludge bands round.
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity Information
Web sites: lurkdoom.bandcamp.com | fb.com/lurkdoom
Releases Worldwide: April 7h, 2023