Every so often, there’s a one-track album that sends the wig formed by the collective shower drains of the metal community into orbit. Of course, the hallmark example is generally thought to be Sleep’s Dopesmoker, circuitously followed up by the toast of 2017, Bell Witch’s Mirror Reaper. Fortunately, the wait is over in the next great installment of endless abyss. Differing quite a bit from past one-track work in its abrasiveness, Stellar Descent’s The Future is Dark—produced by timeless mastermind and Graveyard friend, Déhá—creates its own 46 minute universe.
If you know me in any capacity, you’re probably aware of the fact that I’m a curmudgeon when it comes to fast bands (unless they’re super gazey like my all-time favorite blackened one manner, Entering). Oddly, The Future is Dark has made me come to the realization that serving up a sea of blast beats as a single track makes fast work more consumable. The driving forces behind their compelling execution seem to be twofold. First, the track doesn’t scream this is [insert metal subgenre here]. It isn’t trying to be anything outside of well-glued work, and with that, it becomes all the greater. Second, while there is not contrived stylistic intent, there is purpose to the wall of sound; it’s not just brutality for brutality’s sake. At least to an atmospheric black metal twit like me, the dynamic duo (A. & J.) embraces the fact that an album full of fast tracks can be quite homogenous. So, they remove needless partitions and create one coherently chaotic universe. It’s a place which, ironically, stems from certainty; a guarantee that there is, indeed, nothing but darkness ahead.
Within the first 30 seconds, shrieking vocals become howling winds circling the stratosphere like a man among deaf gods. We find ourselves stranded in a tundra of turbulent grey skies and parched dirt, marching forwards a horizon that’s only growing more distant. A litany of blast beats with a few periods of variation maintain a sense of urgency. Meanwhile, guitar contributions take a solemn but dire tone comparable to a medium tempo interpretation of organ-like funeral doom. But perhaps most notably, The Future is Dark achieves a level of introspection that can speak to a wide range of audiences. Certainly, as its name suggests, the album will resonate with those who are being tortured in the pits of depression. Having since climbed out of that lotion-in-a-bucket hellish chamber, I’m also confident in saying that if you’re just sort of out there innocuously riding the wave of life, it’ll stir you enough to feel anything at all.
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