Former Worlds – Photos of Eve IX-XVI (self-released, 18 March 2017)
Former Worlds – Iterations of Time (Init Records, 31 January 2020)
Hello, all you shiny happy socially-distant people! It’s Tuesday! Not that days or any unit of time or any anything has any real meaning anymore.
Today we’re going to talk about a band I’ve been meaning to share with you folks for the past three-plus years, since they released their debut EP. And then I’ve REALLY been meaning to get around to writing this for the past three-plus months, since they released their debut LP. But here we are.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I don’t have a to-do list with well over 900 items piled up, or act as if I will ever be able to “catch up” in this lifetime, but let’s just keep plugging away at this a little bit at a time, right? For now, please enjoy the Midwestern sludgey juggernaut that is Former Worlds.
The band formed as a quartet in 2015 (including dual vocalists Erin Severson and Boone Julius, bassist Mike Britson, and drummer JJ Anselmi — who coincidentally was also once a member of In the Company of Serpents, although that was prior to any of that band’s releases that we recently wrote about here), and after a short while they released the single-track seventeen-and-a-half-minute Photos of Eve IX-XVI.
Introduced by a series of searing, soaring drone/distortion/feedback notes, the epic piece gradually integrates a very deliberate and restrained drumbeat, spooky sound effects and doomy riffs, then goes on to feature a pair of horror-movie-quality roared vocals. As the riffs waver between moderately slow and tortuously slow, one of the vocal parts develops into a quasi-melodic, haunted deadpan style (just like Undersmile used to do). Some clean, wistful-sounding notes here, some more yelling there, but most of all layers upon layers of noise underneath that threaten to suffocate the listener until finally everything ends up simply fading away, utterly consumed by noise and sadness.
Jumping ahead a couple of years, the group found itself minus one vocalist and one drummer, and so Erin and Mike completed their new line-up with new drummer Eric Anderson when it came time to finish recording the new full-length Iterations of Time — which features quadruple the number of tracks as the first EP did, while each song averages about ten minutes or so in length.
This album is guaranteed to supply well in excess of your Recommended Daily Allowance of gruff vocals, grumbly bass, and groovy sludge. While the vocals occasionally take a surprising sweetly melodic twist (in “Variations on a Cave” and about midway through “Widow Moon”), far more often they range from a harsh hardcore-shriek (think Employed to Serve) to a demonic roar. Closing track “Widow Moon” is the longest here at over fourteen minutes, and also showcases the widest spectrum of feelings and moods, although the majority of the time is spent towards the more unsettling end of that continuum; especially throughout the second half where the vocals, and the (bass) guitar tone, and basically just the whole recording take on an even harsher edge than before…
Photos of Eve CDs are now sold out, but it’s still available as a pay-what-you-choose download here.
Iterations of Time is available on vinyl here, and digitally here.
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