Deathkvlt Records, 2011
After the avant-garde is over, all that there remains is the bitterness of…professionalism? I suppose one could argue that European bands take a certain stylistic delight in such contrasts, the chaos of rebellion and “dark” emotion, a resonating remnant of punk revolt (breaking the earth again in black metal’s ascendance) vs. aesthetic concentration on practiced music being masterfully recorded, reduced to a product and that product, again, being offered as one more slice of a lifestyle still, somehow, against all odds, wedded to confusion, erupting proletariat angst and defiance – reduced to aesthetics and “art” in order to sublimate? Does “professionalism” always equal “product” and can it then be easily dismissed as divorced from its own declared (in such a smooth, sterile, reified manner, danger redacted) intent?
Sect are professional. They absorb the influences one must in order to stand on the world stage and demand a proportion of the listening audience. The familiar as a hook - then the bottoming out and new worlds to discover. At first, going through the first two songs, one hears Craft, Shining, Deathspell Omega at a relaxed pace, with admirable expansiveness. Sect breathe easy, they stretch out, there is no immediacy, no urgency. Here are subtle echoes of other bands as well – if not of the shared language all musicians like this must be fluent in (while offhandedly “denying” so to appear “original”) if they are to be genre-specific. Then it all tears open. The third song features an echoing, eerie, otherworldly motif that seems to fade in and out of the main argument, the core driving communication of the guitars. This is built upon, decoded, torn apart, reconstructed, mentioned as an aside, etc. all the while climaxing to the real breakthrough: the fourth song, a burst of lashing death and grinding speed, a certain desperation which climbs (the entire album is structured as a rising and falling) to a plateau of novel interpretation or creation, one pierces walls and breaches gates. Then: the Russian heritage (or stylistic appeals to/references to the same), a taste of spirit and passion as we move into the last part of the work: a return to quiescence, a lapsing back into a seemingly effortless unfolding of rigid, approved melancholy.
I did not research this band in an adequate manner before writing this review, I know this. I don’t recognize what’s old or new, I don’t know the dates of the compositions, I don’t know their history or how that history is represented on this recording. In one’s mind it seems to start at the ancient, move to the new and daring and then relapse back into the more secure, a dream of possibility. I only have my own emotional responses to the music, what I can see of the structures coalescing from shyly-tossed references to a steel creation of purpose and then decaying, rusting away. Organic, then, to match the nihilistic atmosphere of folklore I hear in almost all Russian music. In the center is the real heart (cliché heaped upon cliché, I apologize) of this band, I feel. One can see it projecting outward to reach even greater evocativeness and eloquence in the future.
UA - 062211