Monday, April 29, 2013

Batillus - Concrete Sustain

Written by Justin C.


We've all had the experience: A band you've been following puts out a new album. You get it, press play, and think, "Wait, this isn't the [insert band name here] I remember! Why did they change their [sludge/doom/black/death/etc.]?" I had that experience with the new Batillus album, Conrete Sustain, but I'll tell you why it will all be O.K.

Photo by Carmelo Española.

If the band's last album, Furnace, was a sludgy/doomy affair, then Conrete Sustain shows them giving more space to their industrial influence. The opening track, "Concrete," features a lock-step marching tempo under fuzzed out guitars and bass with singer Fade Kainer barking, "Sustain and dominate!" like a brutal commander. Straightaway, you hear how well suited Kainer's voice is for this style of industrial metal. His voice is focused and raw, and it makes me want to run around my office shrieking orders at my coworkers. More than I usually do, anyway.

To be fair, this change isn't as huge of a shift as I thought on first listen. After all, the second track on Furnace, "Deadweight," churned along like the soundtrack from one of the Terminator movies, with Kainer screaming, "Fall on your knees!" What we get with Conrete Sustain is really an extension of that sound. The songs are spare and tight. There are no walls of sound here--these tracks are pared down to their simplest elements with plenty of space for the individual instruments to breathe.

Photo by Carmelo Española.

And if you're worried that the band has completed abandoned their doomier sound, don't be. The nearly 9-minute-long closer, "Thorns," rumbles along at an appropriately slow pace, with deep, rumbling vocals only punctuated by Kainer's harsher screams. It's a beautiful, melancholy epic with poetic lyrics about releasing pain.

If you're at all put off by the early songs on this album or the "industrial" label, don't be. It may take a while for this record to sink in for fans of the band's earlier work, but it's well worth the time.


[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Tagged with 2013, Batillus, blackened doom metal, Carmelo Española, doom metal, Justin C, Seventh Rule Recordings
5 comments:
  1. I had a similar reaction. But when it comes down to it, this is just a better album.

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    1. Furnace had some good songs, my absolute favorite was "What Heart". But agreed, CS is simply better.

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  2. This and the new Skagos album are early front runners for my album of the year.

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    1. For some reason Anarchic isn't agreeing with me, but Concrete Sustain yeah. So many good songs.

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    2. I'm having the same problem with Anarchic. It should be right in my wheelhouse, but it's just not doing it for me.

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