WRECK OF THE HESPERUS ARE DOOMED TO SUFFER
With a cadre of screaming car alarms, vividly argumentative neighbors, and the ever-pervasive rise and fall of reggaeton blasting down the block as a sonic backdrop, I settle in to give as much of my attention as possible to an album that, after years of waiting, has finally arrived on my doorstep. I’ve been a devotee to Ireland’s Wreck of the Hesperus’ particular breed of funereal filth since I first heard their 2006 opus The Sunken Threshold, and while their ensuing slew of demos, EPs, and splits (including an absolutely colossal outing with doomed countrymen Mourning Beloveth) have all hit the spot, I wanted more. Now, thanks to Aesthetic Death (and the lads’ finally getting off their arses and recording!), Light Rotting Out has arrived, slick with afterbirth and writhing in the sunlight.
The Emerald Isle is steeped in atmosphere, borne of a bloodstained historical narrative, eldritch folkloric traditions, and the otherworldly state of the land itself. Bone-chilling fog comes rolling off the water each night, glistening dewdrops carpet the fields of green each morning, and every moment spent in between is a full-on life or death struggle. Gripped within the throes of an economic crisis and severe depression, the denizens of this island nation haven’t got much to be cheerful about. Maybe that’s why their chief cultural export (at least as far as heavy metals are concerned) are the despondent strains of Primordial, Altar of Plagues, Mourning Beloveth, On Pain of Death, Brigantia, and the most unyieldingly tormented of all, Wreck of the Hesperus. Streams of whiskey may indeed be flowing for some, but you’re far more likely to find these lads holed up in some dark hovel surrounded by empty cans of cheap rotgut,, slashing their wrists and watching the blood flow.
WOTH use silence as a weapon. Their litanies of despair are punctuated by abrupt, pregnant pauses and false stops that halt the funeral procession for just long enough to keep you, the listener, wholly uneasy. You’re kept guessing, and are never be quite sure when the torture will end. With “Kill Monument,” Light Rotting Out lurches into being from the belly of a wolf, welcoming its hapless victim to the slaughter with a chorus of low, animalistic growls and hushed voices. A pause, and then – unleash hell.
Funeral doom is, as a rule one of the most, shall we say, “monotonous” of doom metal’s hopeless progeny, but WOTH are one of the rare such entities that manage to not only retain a fickle listener’s attention, but to demand it. Steeped in decay, deprived of oxygen, and altogether nasty, the three compositions contained herein are a treasure trove of depraved, cavernous vocals, ambitious drum patterns, and, of course, riffs ov pure creeping death. Twenty-one-minute album closer “Holy Rheum” is an epic affair, incorporating harrowing clean vocals, swaths of off-kilter saxophone, and the barest shreds of melody into its claustrophobic elegy. Funeral doom doesn’t get much more ambitious than this – Loss, eat your hearts out (not really, y’all rule too).
As you may have guessed, I highly recommend this release. On top of the maudlin mastery of the album itself, Light Rotting Out comes housed in some truly beautiful packaging – always a bonus!
Doom or be doomed.
Kim Kelly (or Grim Kim, if we’re being formal) scribbles for a number of sweet metal publications (Terrorizer, Brooklyn Vegan, Invisible Oranges, Hails & Horns, and tons more), promotes wicked records with Catharsis PR, and road dogs for your favorite bands. Keep up with her exploits & numerous band recommendations on Twitter, or peep her blog Ravishing Grimness.