The last time we heard anything out of this group of Queenslandians was two years ago, when their debut Descent Into the Maelstrom dropped out of nowhere (which I originally learned about thanks to the terrific folks over at Heavy Blog is Heavy). That disc’s combination of raw emotion — ranging from soul-crushingly heavy ugliness to soul-wrenchingly mournful beauty, and all points in between — really grabbed me and still hasn’t let go. Later that same year, when I started writing about music myself, it was the natural choice for my first review. (Note that this was a brand new experience for me at that time, and I had no idea what I was doing — unlike now, over eighteen months later, where I still have no idea what I’m doing!)
Anyway, that particular release was pretty monumental — not because I chose to write about it when my journalistic career was in its infancy, but totally on its own merits. If I hadn’t arbitrarily chosen to exclude the small handful of albums I wrote about from my year-end list, I can assure you Descent would have found its way to the very top of my Top 11 of 2011. So after numerous reports of line-up changes and rumors about writing and recording, it’s with great excitement that I’ve received official news about the band’s follow-up, which I will now pass along to you…
The Matador – Descent into the Maelstrom (Serotonin Productions, 21 April 2011).
”It raged with such noise and impetuosity that the very stones of the houses on the coast fell to the ground.“
Much like the short story of the same name, these progressive-post-doom-metal Queenslanders’ EP takes the listener on a voyage that explores unknown depths of madness. Also like the Poe narrative, there is no telling where the experience will end up, but what is certain is that you will not emerge from the other side unscathed or unchanged.
This review is somewhat atypical, in that I will be describing each of the songs in detail, rather than just giving some overall impressions of the entire album. Ordinarily I wouldn’t do this, but for one thing, there are only five songs on this release; also, the passage of time through the tracks seems to represent a progression – an aural journey that represents the titular descent – and it felt like this was the best way to do justice to the material.
Keep reading to join me on this voyage, and along the way you’ll come across links where you can listen to and/or download a couple of the tracks…