Myopic, At the Graves combine forces, create doomy weather on ‘Cold Sweat of Quiet Dread’

Photo by Ben Price

People can’t get together right now, and that’s caused a lot of stress and pressure to be added to everyone’s lives, especially those who live alone. Even the smaller, “safer” gatherings that people are able to pull off still don’t feel right because you know things aren’t normal, and reality still has a dark pall cast over everything.

That hasn’t stopped people from trying to gather and collaborate when they can, and a great example of that is “A Cold Sweat of Quiet Dread,” an album that has the combined forces of progressive doom/black metal-emblazoned Myopic and sludge unit At the Graves creating together. These six tracks have both bands—Myopic features guitarist/vocalist Sean Simmons, bassist/vocalist Nick Leonard, and drummer Michael Brown, while At the Graves is the property of sole creator Ben Price—mashing their worlds together as they started writing in 2019 and recorded everything last summer. The album itself is a nice representation of what each side does so well, melding seamlessly into each other’s creative spaces and transforming their visions into something pulverizing and challenging.  

“Through Veins of Shared Blood” burns open with propulsive playing as things pummel, and the growls push the earth. Moody shrieks then rain down as the playing gets unhinged and even a little proggy, the vocals pierce your sides, and the drums unload as things stir shut. “Gold Sinews” pounds as clean warbling crawls, the doom thickens, and the sun begins to fall. Growls rip in as the fury floods and the playing gets daring and fiery, with the bassline pushing the aggression. Guitars glisten as cleaner vocals wash in, the playing turns slurry and crushing as wild cries mix with devastation over the final moments. “Reeling Between” slowly spills in and establishes a mood while the vocals are violent, and noise calls, melting what’s in front of it. Things turn dreamier, letting your mind float with it, as strange vibes sink in their fingers to smear doomy grime. Shrieks peel back flesh, and the atmosphere becomes volatile, ending everything in a cloud of smoke.

“Oppressive Ruminations” starts bathing in noise as catchy riffs fire up, the shrieks deface, and a tricky pace mixes with rubbery bass lines. Spiraling chaos starts to pull bricks from structures as the vocals smear, and the center is bludgeoned viciously. “Stray Parasite” drips open amid dreamier sequences before things chug as they move toward outer space. The roars then crack open and arrive as strange melodies and energies mix while the intensity begins to build. Bizarre emotions and knifing vocals jab while the playing starts numbing brains, and the back end burns out of time. “Resonating Loss” ends the record, moving slowly as the bass slurs, and then the playing begins to push even harder. Clean vocals and vicious growls smother while a progressive assault and death metal-style skullduggery mash together, making it feel like it’s smothering you. The fires are stoked as the vocals blast rock formations, bringing the album to a rousing finish.

The union that brings together Myopic and At the Graves is a seamless one, as the two bands mix with precision, feeling like they’re creating a greater whole on “A Cold Sweat of Quiet Dread” rather than struggling to maintain their own identities. This is a collection that gets even more immersive the more you visit and get used to the unique terrain these two forces have created. Not sure if this is a one off or something that has legs in the future, but this release is one that begs for a follow up just to see where they can go next.   

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