Asunder - Works Will Come Undone - Profound Lore Records 2006
Running Time: 72:45
Dear Mike Scheidt,
It is with great thanks that I send you this epistle, in gratitude for providing me with hours of musical enjoyment due to your fervent recommendation of Asunder's debut full-length, A Clarion Call, back in 2004. I knew that with your stamp of approval, I was in for an engaging listen, and it was exactly that. Though most funeral doom contains more than its share of meandering passages played by bands who mistake wandering aimlessly about the musical landscape hoping something of note is magically created, Asunder drew me in from the first notes of "Twilight Amaranthine", and I haven't looked back since. I have enclosed for your perusal my thoughts on Asunder's sophomore release, Works Will Come Undone, in an attempt to show my appreciation for expanding my musical horizons.
Forlorn, dejected chords hang in the mist, John Gossard's vocals slightly reminiscent of latter-day Morgion, coloured by the subtle cello of Amber Asylum's Jackie Perez-Gratz, which lends an air of the orchestral to opening track "A Famine". Asunder never moves faster than a snail's pace, weaving between ancient oaks with the unhurried, but no less damaging gait of a brontosaurus. Sure, the beast moves slowly, but you still wouldn't want one to step on you, if you get my drift. Easily defined as being from the early Anathema / Thergothon school of doom, this San Francisco quintet are proud graduates nonetheless. Drummer and background vocalist Dino Sommese chimes in after around eight minutes, lending weight to the belief that Asunder is truly in no hurry to get anywhere, except maybe buried. Soon after, when the dual guitars meld with the cello, Perez-Gratz has her strings take the part of a third guitar, resulting in a resonance that few bands can lay claim to, doom or no. Returning producer Billy Anderson is the perfect fit for Asunder, letting the guitars hang free, raw, and hairy as the NoCal bud the band "might" have "a passing familiarity" with. The cello takes a more upfront role in the first minutes of album ender "The Rite Of Finality", Geoff Evans' guitar joining Gossard in acoustic reflection. After around seven minutes, once the vocals have disappeared, Asunder sets about forging a sonic tapestry which - though vast and rich in splendour - is tortured as all Hell. At the same time, a glimmer of the triumphant lurks within "The Rite Of Finality". Somewhere between the pinch harmonics, Salvador Raya's sublevel bass, and the crashing drums of Sommese, Asunder have shown that in the midst of death, there is rebirth. Suddenly, all is gone but the trembling throb of a faintly-beating heart, sometimes barely discernable through the drone, but always there. It is, to these ears, a musical picture of the haunting and haunted emotions brought forth by the band. Otherworldly chants fade in and out of the mix here and there during this section of the song, which carries on through the end of the album. Taking that sort of time on one theme (even within the genre of doom) can be disastrous, coming across as unwieldy in the hands of some. Asunder use their time wisely, though, morphing the music just enough to keep things interesting, fraught with the spirit of experimentation, yet still aware of the traditional element within their art. Isisian in their dedication to atmosphere, guttural chants return, as does the aforementioned throb before the end of the piece. No cello is present at this time, but the movement remains orchestral in its own despondent way.
A captivating journey through realms of sadness, bereavement, and all things funereal, Asunder's Works Will Come Undone is certain to be heralded as a milestone in doom for those who have ears to hear.