Contrary to their painstakingly measured artistic delivery, Germany’s [ B O L T ] are not a band that rests on its laurels, always in search of new ideas to explore and depths to discover. Their second release of 2019 is this album-length split with countrymen MORASTH, featuring two grim ruminations on the bleakest edges of the doom and drone framework and the darkest spaces between.
Running at over 21 minutes, it would be natural to expect [ B O L T ]’s contribution, “[ 0 6 ],” to be sprawling and labyrinthine, but it’s quite the opposite, a tightly wound and carefully controlled fusion of doom riffs and drone concepts. In actuality, “[ 0 6 ]” is built simply around a single, repeated phrase, which is given plenty of space to breath and time to twist around itself until the listener can no longer recognize if the same thing is happening over and over again or if they have simply become too lost in its thicket to recognize periodic shifts in the formula. As the track progresses, the drums begin to stand out in increasing clarity as the catalyst, whether through menacingly lurching bass drum and crash cymbal strikes or the sudden introduction of blast beats. The hypnotically cycling and impenetrably thick dual-bass provides an unbroken onslaught, but they are conducted by the drumming, which is always defining the tone and energy. In many of [ B O L T ]’s previous compositions there exists the faintest glimmer of hope beneath surface, but “[ 0 6 ]” is a different kind of beast, jet-black and sinister throughout, geared toward listeners fascinated by the opportunity to gaze into the pit and find everything they could have expected reflected back at them without compromise.
MORASTH’s “…ut in caligine terrae residam, tamen patria aether manet” works from a more varied canvas, but its pacing makes it a fitting companion for “[ 0 6 ].” Sludge and gloom are the order of the day, as the track powers forward with an unyielding and oppressive weight, like the slow and terrifying march of approaching catastrophe. Where the [ B O L T ] track represents a more nebulous sense of unease, MORASTH traffic in unquestionably evil tones. Although they function within the doom soundscape, there is something far more disquieting about their interpretation; it’s as if where many bands revel in the conventions of doom, MORASTH celebrates its bedrock. More than just a collection of behemothic riffs, “…ut in caligine terrae residam, tamen patria aether manet” makes texture and atmosphere its cornerstones and builds from that sturdy foundation into something towering and impactful. Translating to “…even though I dwell in Earth’s gloom, my home remains the ether,” it’s an appropriate title for a track that - while ostensibly doom-based - feels like something else entirely, simultaneously both threatening and compelling.
— text by David Zeidler (Young Epoch)
Collaboration LP with [ B O L T ] and MORASTH.
Comes on 180g colored vinyl. Limited to 200 copies.
Pressed with our own hands at dunk!pressing.
Released: November 22nd, 2019.