Genevieve’s brain-mangling fire continues to morph, warp minds with devastating ‘Regressionism’

We don’t mind a challenge, and if we’re being really honest here, we don’t see a whole lot of them these days. When they arrive, the music that twists our brains into weird shapes and makes odd juices flow through our pores are very welcome as the end of the year has us in a seasonal malaise.

Maryland-based destroyers Genevieve are back with their genre-bastardizing new record “Regressionism,” which, if we’re being honest, is a silly name for this six-track beast. The band and the music are doing anything but regressing. They’re pushing their craft forward and mixing whatever elements of extreme metal they have hanging around their bloody tool bench. Black metal, doom, noise, drone all is packed into this thing, though that’s only touching the basics of what makes up this flattening album. The band—Eric Rhodes (bass VI, vocals, acoustic guitar, cello), Keith Mathias (acoustic and electric bass guitars, vocals), Mike Apicella (acoustic and electric guitars), Christian Wetmore (electric guitar), and Matt Powel (drums)—displays mind-blowing ability but doesn’t just show off their skills. The songs are dynamic and incredibly brutal, thought provoking and painfully savage, always keeping you wondering where the hell they’re going next. As strong as their 2015 debut “Escapism” is, this adds so many twists to their game, you’re better off giving in and getting swallowed alive.

“Smoke” starts off with clean playing and noises beginning to rattle, giving off a psychedelic vibe, and then clean warbling enters the fray, making things feel bizarre. Then the track is torn ass to mouth, as the words are scream-sung, crazed wails pelt behind that, and the tension mounts before whirring away. “The Judge” is a 9:27 pounder that trudges and punishes right away before shrieks and growls join the mix, and dizzying patterns start down a path from which your mental well-being cannot return. Deranged violence and delirious chaos make for a volatile team, but then things fade into calm, with elegant guitars trickling. The storm then returns, with maniacal yelps damaging, the band demolishing with desperation, and the track coming to a weird, blistering end. “Wind Chimes” then comes in, a quick instrumental built with acoustics, cellos quaking, and the track entering an echo chamber.

“No for an Answer” is dark and sinewy, with the song erupting out of the shadows. Things ignite as growls begin to chew at the nerves, the growls mix in their menace, and the pace crashes and confounds. Total insanity comes in from there, as melodic guitars spread, strangeness cracks through the surface, and odd howls of, “I have swallowed you whole,” rush to the utterly crushing end. “William Blake” is the longest track, stretching over 10:55 and making sure the sounds simmer. Grim growls head into obliteration, while a savage attack commences, and the pace leaves you breathless. Doomy melodies sink into waters before the tempo relents, and a breezy sensation is unleashed, unexpectedly cooling the skin. That leads to a nice, lengthy psychedelic passage that weaves its way back to the explosives, where the track enters an industrial haze. Voices cry behind the madness, while piercing screams and a killer charge bring the song to its end. Closer “Regression Schism” begins with cold guitars that explode with fire mere moments into the cut. The growls gurgle blood and mud as the track enters total chaos. A weird jazzy section interjects, making the surroundings feel surreal, but then a jerky section of playing punches away, and the growls explode. One final stretch of all-around trickery, massive thrashing, and horrifying screams draw this panic-inducing display to an end.

I’m several listens into “Regressionism,” and I still don’t know what to make of all of this. Genevieve keep morphing into a bigger, stranger monster, and their work here is enthralling and confounding. It’s nice to have a baffling puzzle to tackle when putting on a record, and this one will have you working overtime until your brain melts.

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