PICK OF THE WEEK: Seputus smash back with psychological death on devastating ‘Phantom Indigo’

Photo by Caroline Harrison

Events over the past year have changed all of us more than just not being able to be around friends and loved ones and watching an illness shut down all the things we love. That time period also likely hardened a lot of activities that inflame our monotonous behaviors from phone scrolling to reading comments from trolls to just menial activities around the house as we try to deal with all this time on our hands.

Warped death metal band Seputus doesn’t wholly center on this subject matter on their awesome new record “Phantom Indigo,” but that’s definitely a part of what’s going on here. Much of the inspiration comes from the book Hallucinations by late neurologist Oliver Sacks, his effort to normalize the symptoms and effects of mind-altering experiences and to remove the stigma associated with it. But the band—vocalist Doug Moore, guitarist/drummer Stephen Schwegler, bassist Erik Malave—also centers on mental fixations, meaningless routines, and negative thought patterns, things that obviously have been aggravated heavily the past 15 months. The music is mind-wrenching, psychologically challenging death metal that never relents and always keeps your mind working, practically doing battle against the forces they’ve written about. On the record, they’re joined by guest guitar soloist Evan Void (Hivelords, Sadgiqacia), Dan Gargiulo (Revocation), Dylan DiLella (who plays with Moore in Pyrrhon), and Pete Lloyd (Replicant) to add even more fire into these devastating songs.

 “The Will to Live” starts with noise boiling and drums unfolding before ferocity strikes, and Moore’s vocals slice through your organs. He trades off between shrieks and guttural growls as the drums mash, and vicious guitar work explodes. The leads disorient while the back end delivers smothering hell and ugly vocals. “The Learned Response” brings hovering noises before the track utterly massacres, with the shrieks aiming to kill. Growls and shrieks mix as brains are scrambled, and the playing just keeps pounding away, never letting you have a moment of solace. A murderous pace destroys, anxiety totally jolts, and then everything comes apart, strangling with electricity. “Tautology” runs a cool 10 minutes, starting with the drums exploding, and muddy playing clogging up your veins. The shrieks tear you apart as your head swims in psychosis, and the guitars work taunts and jabs. Things then come unglued, the vocals fire off haymakers, and the playing is mucky and ugly, contorting its face. Guts keep getting ripped out, the playing rampages in noise, and the track finally delivers a gasp of mercy.

“The Forgetting Curve” unloads noise and muscular bass as chaotic mashing runs amok and spits nails. The playing is chaotic as the drums punish, the track rips into space, and the instrumental track basks in fire. “Deuteragonist” is the longest track, running 10:16 and starting with moody crushing and shrieks ripping into your skeletal structure. Gargantuan hell is unleashed and makes the earth move, the drums go off, and it feels like bones are being powdered. Things gets stranger as things go clean and eerie, and your mind just wails as piledrivers are delivered unprotected. The growls melt, the ferocious playing lays waste, and the unhinged playing blasts you into the furnace. The title track ends the record and gets fired up right away as the playing sinks in its teeth. Shrieks hammer as the playing crumbles, while the guitar work darts and dares. There’s an ugly underbelly as the growls belch, and the assault spirals into the core of the earth. A total eruption then takes hold, barriers are destroyed, and a dagger is hammered into the earth, cementing their violent statement.

“Phantom Indigo” is a tremendous bout with psychological torment and physical madness, and Seputus’ delving into the themes of Hallucinations delivers even more meaning to what is otherwise aiming to slice your skull from your spine. There is a lot of unpack here both musically and thematically, and it’s a total pummeling that is a morbid joy to hear from start to finish. We all can relate to the mental loops the band examines on this record, especially after a year where we’ve had to relearn how to live and try to do it without completely losing our minds.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/seputusband

To buy the album, go here: https://www.willowtip.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.willowtip.com/home.aspx