Chrch – Light Will Consume Us All (Neurot Recordings, 11 May 2018)
Fister – No Spirit Within (Listenable Records, 18 May 2018)
Hey! Remember that incredible split of DOOOOOOM between California’s Chrch and Missouri’s Fister, that came out last November? We just wrote about it at the beginning of this year. Well, both of those bands recently wrapped up a joint European tour, and coincidentally they are both beginning a series of U.S. tour dates TONIGHT (although those will all be separate shows). Also, they both signed to new labels in the recent past (Neurot and Listenable respectively), and both bands have just released their first album on those labels within the past month.
In this article we’re going to talk about both of those albums, and then at the end will be a list of upcoming performances for each band. Prepare yourselves.
Chrch have undergone a massive change in style since the earlier days before they dropped the vowel from their name. Actually, part of that last sentence is based on a true story, but most of it was completely fabricated. Their modus operandi has always been slow, doomy jams that go on forever and ever. New album Light Will Consume Us All (no relation to the similarly-named TNBM documentary) certainly lives up to those expectations: these three tracks total almost exactly three-quarters of an hour.
Opener “Infinite” seems aptly named as it spans nearly half of the album on its own. More often dulcet and atmospheric than otherwise, the track nevertheless has its heavier moments, alternating back and forth like an endless revolving door of doom riffs. Following that, “Portals” is nearly opposite: far crunchier and heavier most of the time, with some ethereal moments, and while there is some harsh vocalizing, the more intense music is offset by mostly melodic and angelic singing; and closing track “Aether” attempts to reach some sort of middle ground between the two: its slower parts are much slower but its faster parts are even faster, the softer parts are more calm but the harsher parts are much more intense.
All in all, it feels like a lengthy journey with numerous twists and turns, that covers an awful lot of ground while ultimately ending up in the same place. Like you’ve been floating around some sort of epic doom metal lazy river …
Speaking of bands having a particular M.O., the seven songs that comprise No Spirit Within will generally feel familiar to those who know what to expect from Fister. While two-minute introductory track “Frozen Scythe” might briefly have the listeners letting their guard down, with its clean reverby guitars sounding like they were taken from the soundtrack to a spaghetti western, you’ll soon be reminded exactly what Fister are known for: huge, thick, glacially slow riffs obscured by ample amounts of feedback and distorted noise, long instrumental interludes with crazed guitar solos, and most of all, utterly frighteningly snarled vocals.
Third track “Cazador” is a highlight, featuring that mainstay of the band’s repertoire, a very slow and deliberate rhythmic pounding delivered by the whole band in unison, although the track does significantly quicken later, with an almost punky attitude. A similar juxtaposition — at least in dynamic range and volume if not in tempo — can be found in some of the album’s longer songs, such as the title track, and closer “Star Swallower,” with some quieter sections scattered throughout. But the album is overall a cold and humorless place, just as much a terrifying hellscape in the (relatively less common) more ambient parts as in the oppressively crushing louder parts.
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CHRCH North American Tour – Summer 2018
Below Dates w/ Body Void (Except *) :
11 June – Slidebar – Fullerton CA
12 June – Garage Rock Bar – Tijuana MX *
13 June – The Rogue – Phoenix AZ
14 June – Cans – Tucson AZ
15 June – Neon Rose – El Paso TX
16 June – Austin Terror Fest – Austin TX
17 June – Reno’s – Dallas TX
18 June – Hi Dive – Denver CO
19 June – Metro Music Hall – Salt Lake City UT *
21 June – Holland Project – Reno NV *
Below Dates w/ Yob, Acid King :
06 September – Harlow’s – Sacramento CA
07 September – Catalyst Atrium – Santa Cruz CA
08 September – Pappy & Harriet’s – Pioneertown CA
09 September – Teregram – Los Angeles CA
12 September – Sister Bar – Albuquerque NM
13 September – Club Red – Phoenix AZ
14 September – Brick by Brick – San Diego CA
15 September – Oakland Metro – Oakland CA
Fister North American Tour – Summer 2018
13 June – The Sinkhole – St. Louis MO
20 June – Gabe’s – Iowa City IA
21 June – The Cabooze – Minneapolis MN
22 June – Stygian Rites Fest – Rapid City SD
23 June – Hi-Dive – Denver CO
24 June – Triple Nickel Tavern – Colorado Springs CO