These summer days here in the States generally are used for basking in the sun, having fun, and doing stupid things. People are happier, more free-spirited, and it’s a prime time for our national beer companies to bombard us with ads showing groups of ridiculous people doing inane things with their bad products. That image along just turned me against summer violently.
But doesn’t some of this just mask all of the sorrow and despair out there? We can forget about what ails because someone just brought over a 30-pack of shit, and we can drown out for the evening. Summer, man! Wooo! Look, I enjoy the warmer months as much as anyone, but I also prefer not to shoo away negativity because I choose to acknowledge it’s always there, lurking, even if the blinding sun sometimes makes that hard to say. I got a good reminder that wallowing in the blackness can be a good thing when taking on “Reclusive Blasphemy,” the third record from malicious black metal assault unit One Master. For more than a decade now, this band has been making gears-grinding black metal not designed to play on some beams-splashed outdoor stage on an energy drink-sponsored tour of artistic hell. Instead, it’s meant to be heard in a dark room or a damp basement, where hope is at its lowest and you’re left to wonder how the actual fuck you’re going to function the next day. That’s not necessarily in a depression sense; instead it’s an exclamation of one’s disgust in everything around.
Following a series of demo releases, the band released its debut “Forsaking a Dead World” in 2006, followed by “The Quiet Eye of Eternity” three years later. There was a split effort and a live album since then, but they’re finally back with their third opus “Reclusive Blasphemy” that spreads their tyranny over five tracks and about 36 minutes. At the helm with guitars and vocals is original member Valder (also of Lustrum and Fatalism), as well as guitarist Doctor Messiah, bassist Black Wolf, and drummer Blood Eagle. The band sounds as massive and striking as ever, and their eerily melodic, often penetrating tones are enough to drill holes of chaos into your psyche.
“At the Hour of Saturn” blows the lid off the record as a total brain melt, as the song blisters but also achieves a sci-fi-ready, drilling melody swarm similar to Krallice. The vocals are mean and penetrating, sounding both off the hinges and absolutely channeled, while the bass begins to churn, and the assault heads full speed into the wall. The composition is as brainy as it is brutal, and as the song changes paces and the elements swarm, the back end of the track will have you feeling delirious. “A Cursed and Dismal Mind” has noise spreading like a plague, with slow-driving guitars lumbering and a scorched-earth doom presence leading the way. Then the track blows open, with fury and speed spilling from the music and the vocals teetering between maniacal wail and tortured yelp. The storm front rises, as the vicious, thought-provoking guitars ramble toward you, and spidery playing makes the song feel even stranger. “Intolerance” explodes, with the gas pedal pushed dangerously again, things feeling like they’re barreling out of control, and madness ready to consume you. The song is a show of brutal force, as the music is ferocious, and the vocals are at their charred best.
“Infernal Silence” keeps the sense of discomfort boiling over, as the drums are just decimated and the vocals feel like a diatribe that’s been welling up for generations. The track is just blinding, as the band strikes from all sides, and never from the angle you expect. Shrieks rain down, the playing gets deadlier as it progresses, and once calm finally comes, it’s only to let a thick, doom-ridden cloud into the scene to blacken everything in sight. The closing title cut is an eerie one at first, opening with an extended pocket of noise that hovers over trance-like chants. Drums are struck slowly, while the pace slithers, and spoken lines sound feel like they’ve been ripped from a fever dream. Naturally, the bottom is torn out later, with the treachery returning, the feeling of all-out sensory war being waged, and final blasts of violence ensuring the message comes across black, bleak, and bloody.
One Master won’t brighten your day or your disposition. In fact, they just may do the opposite. “Reclusive Blasphemy” is an unquestioned dark spot on the body of black metal, and the band is one of the sub-genre’s deepest, darkest hopes that this stuff remains as harsh and unforgiving as possible. One Master are showing you the way into the dark tunnel to take on your constant frustrations, and it’s up to you whether you want to follow that path or keep drowning in the artificial glow of soon-to-pass summer.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.one-master.net/
To buy the album, go here: http://eternaldeath.storenvy.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.eternal-death.com/