While I’m sure this idea is really unpleasing to many people, I love putting on a record and being absolutely baffled, maybe even frightened by what I’m hearing. As satisfying as the opposite can be, it also can lead to bands not taking chances or staying in place just to remain in their safe lane. That’s fine too, but having artists who will dabble in madness helps keep music fresh and concepts evolving.
Australian terrors Plasmodium take the idea of unpredictability to insane levels, which is on full, terrifying display on “Towers of Silence,” a record that revels in anything but the absence of sound. My first experience with this record was pleasingly off putting, making me wonder what the fuck I was hearing. While that might sound like a negative, it was anything but that as I sought to devour these five track and 47 minutes of this bizarre, stabbing black and death metal hybrid. The band—and I’m copying right from the bio because I don’t know what any of this means as we have Fuath on disembodiment, Demoninacht on limbic chaos, Nocentor on reverberactions, Aretstikapha on invocations, and Yen Pox on spiteful whirlwind generation—fully commits to the psychosis, spilling their sound into strange pockets and fully reimagining what heaviness and power really means. Did I do this right?
“ParaMantra” rips open with a fury as the growls rumble, and the playing blinds you. It’s a total assault on the senses as weird keys reverberate, and strange whispers get into your head and lead you toward “Churning” where double kick drums open up hell. Suffocating heaviness and relentless playing dominate while the growls deliver harsh menace, and the sounds churn. Massive shrieks and animalistic hell combine, the sounds sizzle, and this strange beast finally ends its stomp. “Pseudocidal” is trippy and disorienting at the start before bells and noises mix, and the drumming dusts. Growls lurch into a weird ambiance, warped strangeness sinks in its teeth, and a miasma of horrors begins to claim victims. Battering madness slips into utter strangeness, while it feels like a drug dream takes over and leads you into oblivion.
“Translucinophobia” starts the final half hour of this record, an 18:37-long track that starts as a total assault. Growls creak and cosmic oddities launch toward you as the drums pummel, and the assault is on. Later your mind is allowed calm before a savage assault arrives on the other end, and alien weirdness pushes. The drums kill as the hellish assault spreads, with total insanity in the air, and things get even weirder. The voices warp, the track ignites again, and the final moments blaze out into a cloud of hell. “Vertexginous” closes the album, a 12:45-long beast that starts with cosmic trauma. Tortured cries rain down as the track slowly comes apart with anguishes yells chewing at your nerves. The atmosphere turns spacious and odd, keys drip, psychotic storming pelts, gross weirdness slithers, and guitars charge, letting the intensity spike as the chaos blasts out.
I can’t even begin to make heads or tails of “Towers of Silence,” a record that doesn’t really live up to its name considering it’s packed wall to wall with frenzied sounds and abject heaviness. Plasmodium are operating on a bizarre, entirely different level than most bands, and the best idea is to just take a few steps back and watch this beast spasm and punish. You’re not going to find many records quite like this one this year, and honestly, our psyches are probably better off for it.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Undulator
To buy the album (U.S.), go here: https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/
Or here (Europe): https://transcendingobscurity.8merch.com/
For more on the label, go here: https://tometal.com/