Colossloth – Outstretch your hand for the impress of truth

Published by Davide Pappalardo on February 19, 2016

colossloth-outstretch-your-hand-for-the-impress-of-truthThe British Colossloth leaves a trail of mystery behind him in a time where, due to Internet and to the easiness in founding information, this is not a given; coming from the county of Leicestershire, he doesn’t let us know his name, but many images of him are freely visible on many websites and live videos on YouTube, making his music talk and letting it be the protagonist. He has already published many independent works such as the tape Black Mermaid / A Circle Of Thrones for the American label Scumbag Relations, the CDr Torn By The Black Talons Of God for the Belgian Bone Structure and the vinyl Antipathy In Nature for the American Doom-Mantra Records, and even some digital EP’s which contributed to his fame between the lovers of experimental electronic music, thanks to his tribal and doom (in a more varied sense than the rock/metal one) elements expressed in a hypnotic drone where modern sounds and atavistic tendencies have an happy marriage.

Now he debuts for the prestigious English label Cold Spring with the album Outstretch your hand for the impress of truth, that we are going to review, a work of tribal electronic music where dark ambient, technological elements, noise, feedback, never too hostile drones (to whoever is familiar with the genre) are linked and subjugated to the sound ritual he mastered; so we have something that recalls, at the same time, the lo-fi experimental tradition and the sound ambiances, and it’s not anachronistic and remembers the technological evolution of our times. Nine tracks which even have some well played surprises, for an album that requires an active listening, possibly down in the darkness of the world it evokes; reverberations, piano sounds, some acoustic elements, and distant and submerged vocal samples complete the picture of a work that can give much to the listener.

It’s a given that the sum of the parts is the important thing, without subtracting to the identity of the single episodes, stations in a path that guides us to unknown inner lands; The flavour of the weak is the start, characterized by dark ambient lines soon disturbed by nervous tensions and sampled arpeggios, elements that are then accompanied by grim phrasings, sinister effects and obsessive loops. We could think that this is a standard drone affair, but at a minute and forty-six seconds of length the scenario changes with noise distortions that develop a long prolonged technological cacophony; and then the initial mantra returns until the conclusion in an ending linked to the beginning.

Your flag stands for nothing is based, instead, from the start, on slow and hard distorted blasts, in a kind of digital press where the monolithic movement is a substrate for strident synths; we have then evocative elements and sounds of horns in an ambient structure, giving us again that juxtaposition of layers that develops the track. At a minute ad thirty-seven seconds of length, a sudden feedback stops everything, letting a crescendo of arches and orchestral sounds dominate the scene; we shouldn’t be fooled anyway, as the distortions of the beginning return, giving us again an end that recalls the start of the track.

Cave in we are complete returns to the evocative ambient tones, developing sound pictures that wouldn’t be out of place in a less hellish Lustmord; here, shrilling mechanical sounds and hissings are linked in a union of atavism and future. Some loops of riffing arrive in the composition, being then companions for a sequence of distortions in a chaotic crescendo; but, like many times in this album, the songwriting doesn’t follow a strict order, and suddenly drone oscillations are linked with sounds in reverse in a mantra where the dark ambient elements of the beginning return, before the cacophony and the robotic effects put at the end.

The title track develops itself between arpeggios and submerged sounds until the start of distortions and sawmill-like industrial movements; at a minute and sixteen of length everything stops, leaving the scene to effects in reverse and radio-like interferences with a strange, taken-out-of-contest and fragmented “rock stadio hymn”. It’s in episodes like this that the genius of the artist is shown, with his manipulation of the sound (and not only sound) matter in a not standard way; the concrete music interferences return, descending then in the initial motif, that degenerates in a dark finale.

The world keeps turning (on me) shows us ambient queasiness and electronic rattling sounds which grow until they meet alien distortions and sampled caustic riffs; a soundtrack that is enriched by organ loops in a ritual that ends with the return of the chainsaw-like riffs in a doom moment where, even this time, strident cacophonies arrive. The ending is dominated by vortex-like effects in an adapt way for this post-industrial pastiche.

Of talons and teeth starts with a shrilling feedback, soon accompanied by distorted guitar riffs in a severe march; but, suddenly, melodic loops dominate everything until the change of peace with ethereal sounds. They are linked with epic lo-fi themes, which have not a long life: suddenly they are substituted by rhythmic distortions with a strange musicality; very effected vocal samples find here their home, generating a hypnotic sequence. The ending is even this time a closing of a circle with the return to the loops of feedback and riffs; another composition based on a sequence of well alternated and orchestrated elements.

Paint her face to simulate the bloom manifests itself in a dark ambient suite before it adds digital noise interferences liked again the tradition of the genre with modern ways; then, field-recording effects have their place together with piano keys, which develop a classical composition over-looped by disturbances. They return then in an inhuman drone sequence where is the factory-like atmosphere the core of the scene; the ending returns to the ambient of the beginning, leaving us amazed.

The nameless saint surprises us with the opening piano, which is then accompanied by strident effects in a kind of Futurism-minded orchestra; grimly distorted solos are added with their stack-sounds, concurring to the scenario of a concert for machines and not humans. Noise effects complete the picture guiding us to a minute and fifty-five seconds of length; here they dominate with dub tribal rhythms in a change of peace that is not eternal: the piano keys return and are the protagonists of the ending of the track.

Black deeds from dead seeds indulges in a play of minimal synths and ambient effects with a caustic taste, where loops and interferences follow each other; acoustic elements are added, giving us the human aspect too in what would be, alternatively, a pure factory-like ritual. Reversed vocal samples take their tool while all the other important elements are repeated in an ethnic drone that goes on without any major change until the end; maybe the most “regular” track in the repertoire, but for sure not something to despise.

A very peculiar work that doesn’t follow, like many others, the way developed by the big names of noise, dark ambient and death/black industrial, searching, instead, for his own path; we have not here something hostile in the sense of extreme heaviness or monolithic obsession, instead many aspects have a “musicality”, even if a sinister substrate is never forgotten. But, at the same time, maybe absurdly, this album could be perceived as even more difficult in its absorption because of the union of ritualistic and atavistic elements, acoustic parts, very distorted riffs and digital-era sounds; well, this is not completely new, but if other projects translate many times these elements in a ritualistic-danceable dimension (we have to think about the trance-minded moments of This Morn’ Omina), here we have always a meditative and experimental structure with slow and dilated moments.

In a time where unfortunately experimental electronic music betrays its name many times and becomes an established and standard normality, a work like this is really welcomed; like we said, a distract listening is detrimental, instead is required a serene, but active sensory participation to the suites and the sudden changes. We think this is something that should be known and rewarded; if you want something different and meditative, without forgetting a certain sense of tension, here you have what you want.

Score: 9

Label: Cold Spring