darsombra - ecdysis - At A Loss Recordings 2006
Running Time: 34:36
Having first bore witness to darsombra in a live setting, I can vouch for the foreboding intensity of having a lone guitar alternately shearing your face from your skull with abrasive riffage that sounds as if the fretboard is being battered by the business end of a claw hammer, and then winding itself about your fuzzed-out brain in velvet serpentine ambience. Spawned from the mind of Meatjack's Brian Daniloski, darsombra is simply like nothing you've ever heard. I have to confess a certain trepidation when I received this disc, wondering if the digital medium would pale in comparison to the visceral power of the performance.
The good news is that it does not. While I'd highly recommend headphones for this bumpy ride through systems both solar and lunar, just turning up your stereo and shutting off the outside world as much as possible might do the trick. darsombra isn't so much meant to be "listened to" as "experienced". Slithering into the consciousness with all the subtlety of a poison apple, the funereal keys and submerged vocal samples of 'thinning the herd' recall the more zoned-out portions of Meatjack's recent efforts, while 'the place where there is no darkness' brings to mind the introductory sequence to Pink Floyd's transitional Meddle. An elongated note is toyed with, bolstered by sub-level throb and pulse, and then scattershot with seemingly random instances where washes of controlled feedback harry the listener to the song's end. Recorded in an old funeral home, the interment of your sanity is momentarily assured thanks to the stark rhythmic dissonance of 'my house', where a sitar hovers menacingly over a bed of hypnotic Skeleton Key hum, and unintelligible lyrics induce the same desperation in the listener as in the mind from whence they sprung. 'drag the carcass' features a field recording of a local minister howling across the barren soundscape, acting nearly as a vocal rhythm track to the dissonance at hand, only to fade into torrid waves of heat undulating the concrete in the aptly-named 'swelter'. after the apocalyptic coda of 'dies irae' (yes, "that" 'dies irae') looses its tenuous hold on your eardrums, it's then that you begin to understand what darsombra's been on about this whole time.
What is the first word that pops into your head as the sound finally dies down? I'm not going to tell you what my word was. But it is in that singular word...in that singular world...that darsombra lives. It's hard enough to look into your own soul. Far more frightening it is sometimes to look into someone else's. For those who dare...darsombra.