When I was growing up, I had both a fascination with and paralyzing fear of UFOs. I remember late on a Saturday night watching an over dramatized show about alien abductions and barely being able to sleep for weeks at a time. I kept thinking about weird grey men trying to drag me up a ramp onto their craft.
I still find myself altogether consumed by UFO documentaries on cable TV, though my fear long ago has subsided, and I’m pretty comfortable with the notion that there are other beings out there somewhere and that maybe one day we’ll meet some of them. I also have been thinking lately about the movie “E.T.” that’s getting reissue treatment on DVD that was one of the first movies of my life to captivate me. And equally frighten me because I worried every laundry pile I encountered as a kid really was a hiding space for an alien. One of the weird anecdotes I took away from the movie was about E.T. being a botanist and that really being the first time I ever heard that word before and what it meant.
That’s perhaps a complicated path to discussing “Climax Community,” the latest effort by Darsombra. Musically, we’re not really discussing outer space, but their compositions always seem to try to take me there. Never have I thought that more than when indulging in this new album. But there are more natural themes behind this record specifically when it refers to the album title, which Wikipedia describes as “a biological community of plants and animals which, through the process of ecological succession — the development of vegetation in an area over time — has reached a steady state.” That makes a lot of sense with this record, but their brand of ambient, doomy, transcendental rock and metal sounds organic and, for me, at one with my surroundings. This is an outdoors album, best enjoyed in the elements.
Darsombra have a myriad of releases to their credit, recording for labels such as At a Loss and Public Guilt, and their last full-length was 2008’s excellent and adventurous “Eternal Jewels,” which remains a favorite to this day. The duo of Brian Daniloski (Meatjack, Trephine) and Ann Everton (who brings the music to live with her breathtaking visual interpretations) hit a high plane of artistic understanding and revelation on this new album, that sometimes has a New Age vibe, often feels loose and free, and occasionally takes you into thunder pockets in order to bring you back to serenity. It’s quite an experience.
“Climax Community,” their third long player, is a little less metallic than past Darsombra efforts, and it generally stays more in the drone, ambient category more than anything. But certainly there’s enough to convince a fan of, say, Sunn 0))), Asva, or Earth to stick around and check out the whole thing. The album’s comprised of three tracks — epic opening and closing cuts, with a bridge in between them. The songs do require attention and patience, typical of art this style, and it’s best consumed when relaxing, concentrating, or reading. It should help both soothe and stimulate your mind.
“Roaming the Periphery” opens, running 23:17 and doing pretty much exactly what the title indicates. It meanders and travels around the edges of your mind, occasionally making inroads to the middle, but always settling back into the ether. The center gets heavier and darker, with doom drone and guitar thickness allowed to get things smoking, and space-age noises and planetary pulsating also strikes, getting your cells moving back and forth. It’s a really long cut, and I get tired as the song reaches its conclusion, which makes the placement of acoustic, folk-based “Green” afterward perfectly sensible. It’s the leafy buffer.
Closer “Thunder Thighs” goes 18:16, and it begins mystically and mysteriously. It, too, gets filthier from time to time, but it also revels in weirdness. After a neat prog-based section, some of the album’s few vocal displays light up, with repeated chants of “da-da, da-da.” Honestly, that part goes on too long, and I start to find it a little grating on the nerves, but it eventually melts back into comic soup and has a wonderfully numbing finish.
Darsombra remain a weird, wonderful entity, and their music can be uplifting, dark, enlightening, and spooky all at the same time. To me, I keep going back to those spacecraft overlords and their designs on Earth. Maybe this is what I’d hear–or would want to hear– in my mind during my own alien autopsy. I’m sure it wouldn’t feel too good, but I feel like this music would help me soar away and appreciate the greater good my internal organs would do for another race of beings. Not that I wouldn’t protest the knife.
For more on the band, go here: http://darsombra.com/
To buy the album, go here: http://www.mainstreamrecords.de/shop
For more on the label, go here: http://www.mainstreamrecords.de/