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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Nonsun - "Good Old Evil"


Let's not make a big deal out of this. We're both mature adults; we should be able to conduct ourselves and our business without those elements of interpersonal conflict. So I'll be the bigger person and tell you to pull your head from your ass and trust these pearls on a snowy Sunday morning. Oh, your insides are dying from last night's vodka gimlets? You've stumbled to the local greasy spoon to find everyone staring. They saw what you did, they know who you are, and you'll be lucky if the waitress doesn't muster some lung butter for your coffee.

So, that ringing in your ears could be the resonation of last night's poor choices. Or it could be Ukraine's Nonsun, filling your headphones with enough drone-dominant sludge to interrupt military correspondence. On their 2012 demo Good Old Evil, this gloomy duo string up four tracks dripping with pleasantly shrill feedback and murky tempo shifts. There's a ribbon of thickness plastered to every note, but atmospheres are allowed a breath of cheap smog here and there.

Drawing-out a slow, scratchy dirge on Jesus' Age, Nonsun open this demo with bog-wading pace, stuffing their curled toes into wet sand and allowing time for an evil buzz to ferment. The agonizing restraint is paired with Bohdan Goatooth's sadistic gag, rounding out an already expansive malevolence. Murderous guitar exploration succumbs to enveloping fuzz creeping from any and every direction. The drone dominates, but the eighteen-minute opus is made entirely palpable with low bass threads and Andriy Alpha's hollowed, carved-out drums. You won't find yourself checking your watch, trust me.

Between the flooded crunch of sludge-doom descent and misty guitar sustain, Rain Have Mercy works as a scrape for scraps that's as redemptive as it is choppy. Chronicling a rebirth following an awakening of sorts, the beauty and ache are perhaps more traditionally approachable, but it's difficult to get too comfortable. Slowed and sung softly, Goatooth's eulogical delivery is a reprieve, and it's nice to know there's a voice beyond the fog. By now, Good Old Evil has grown into more than just a demo; it's a drone-metal seance soaked with innovative stylistic marriages. You won't know how to feel.

I'll admit I'm partial to departures and intermissions. I like being clubbed in the back of the head as much as the next guy, but the patience required to properly execute an effective sonic smoke break is sometimes a fleeting trait. Message Of Nihil Carried By The Waves Of The Big Bang is an unsettling perspective on failing technology. Imagine passing behind a chorus of jet liners and being blown back in awe of blasting engines. It's appropriately interruptive, and the drone-smog canvas hums, haws, and hovers amazingly as radar promises a complete white-out. If you thought intermissions were for re-filling popcorn or bonking a stranger in the loo, Nonsun are broadening your weak scope.

I fell in love with this album long before the final chapter hit its onset. The fuzzy drone and distant ice-trappings of Forgotten Is What Never Was are gonna circle my head for days. By now I've spent too much time wishing there was a vinyl pressing available for purchase, and my focus is lost. So imagine being locked in a cathedral as throngs wait out the patience of a faceless, heaving beast. The processional stomp allows doom to storm center-stage, but there's a glowing beauty found in this death. The repetitive, slow return to patient pacing is as warmly-welcomed as it is anticipated. This winter hymnal comes in the form of sludge riffs atop bruises and slow gnarls.

There's no pretense here. Whether it's the approach of death or the pleas toward the sun, Good Old Evil marks a perfect tandem of malice and hope. If there's a metamorphosis to be observed, let's highlight Nonsun's transitions and not my own shift from sludge to drone. Forget catharsis, you might just need to play in teeming mud and abandon expectation. Today, we're privy to an amalgam of diverse approaches to the heavy. These tracks are ambitious, sure. But ambition never detracts from the band's beautifully executed realizations. I awoke to Nonsun and couldn't help but shake my head. My bell was already rung, but Nonsun's extra push didn't hurt.




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