Severed Boy imagine horrifying actions without restraint with upsetting EP ‘Tragic Encounters’

Part of the thing that keeps most humans in check is the presence of a conscience, the thing that makes us step back and consider the consequences of our actions before we do something we might regret. But what if that was something that didn’t exist or could be eliminated entirely? How would that cause people to act, and would the world be thrown into chaos?

Nicholas Wolf and Reid Calkin, both members of Lunglust, considered that idea when putting together their new band Severed Boy and their debut “Tragic Encounters.” The band’s name plays up the idea of being able to being separated from one’s conscience and what might result, and that’s unfurled in the form of devastating, psyche-destroying death and doom metal. The five tracks are menacing and aimed at exploring the worst possibilities of humankind, fixating on the most heinous acts one could commit physically and psychologically, which explains why this music is so scarring.

The title track starts with guitars warming before the doom shower hits, and suddenly we’re saturated. Mangling growls and punishing guitar work charge your bones as a burst of melody rips through, and the drumming clobbers. Things get muddy and ugly as the last doom offensive is mounted, and then we’re on to “Pooling” that brings some indie rock fire at the front. Growls crush as the atmosphere thickens and even grows more inviting, but it doesn’t take long for things to go morbid again, unloading on you as the song ends. “Agony and Despair” in a strange instrumental that ties together dark clouds and shadowy strangeness, feeling ominous as they head into “Sparse Forest of Memories” that delivers mucky pain and leads that burn with ferocity. Growls drone into the earth as heavy punches are landed, and the band trudges hard, with no regard for your feelings. The track ends in smothering power and some bizarre ambiance, leading to our closer “Mindless Future Breaker” that drubs and immediately drills you into the mud. The vocals scrape as the guitars catch fire and revel in grime, and the assault floods your senses. The guitars slice, and black doom blood flows, and then their glory rises to the surface as they end things as punishingly as possible.

The promo materials that accompany “Tragic Encounters” label the music as upsetting and uncomfortable, and I can’t think of a better way to describe Severed Boy’s awesome debut EP. It just beats your ass for 20 minutes, rarely letting you up to get a breath or recover at all. That’s a positive because we didn’t come here for an easy time; we came to get flattened and borderline humiliated, and Severed Boy delivered.

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