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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Deuil - "Acceptance/Rebuild"

"But the trees in Stephen's Green were fragrant of rain and the rain-sodden earth gave forth its mortal odour, a faint incense rising upward through the mould from many hearts."

You're just in a state of shock. Give it a few days until the realization of total loss throws you to the floor in bawling fits. Everyone is expecting you to break down; just do your best to keep it from happening in public, mate. There are stages. This is normal. Assert all you want that it's not fair and doesn't seem real, but that can't change the fact that you've been left alone and the backbone you thought you had suddenly needs tightening.

"Deuil" translates to mourning, so perhaps the tight-lipped side-stares could've been expected. But Belgium's blackened funeral-sludge quartet offer an atmosphere of total loss and wash it down with angst and an audience of cautious observation. Acceptance/Rebuild responds to that knock on your door with slow tempos, tightly-threaded swirls of haunt, and skyward glances hoping to prevent tears from streaming south. That being said, it's gonna take a few listens before you're fully willing to start the grieving process.

Two tracks totaling twenty-seven agonizing minutes, eh? Trust us, it's pretty good. The tracks seem to execute exactly what their names suggest. Acceptance employs disembodied chants and a cloud of floating-static riffs to distract from the impending slow-sipping sludge stomp. Layers emerge and mournful sobs breed skin-scratching crackles, all under the canopy of inwardly-directed anger. Rueful violence splits at the edges and reveals a self-hate that just might block this "acceptance" from ever truly happening. Massive walls of regret swell and sweep with processional droning as backmasked memories linger and tick. The seventeen-minute opener is melodic and melancholy, completely exhausting in all its thick grief.

But if there's any hope of forward-thinking, Rebuild provides it. Consider it a white-winter gaze at what's left and what lies ahead. Hollow guitars expand with accompaniments of fuzz and slow tempos, but they find their steam and build under suspicious progressions. The guitars remain distant and guarded, but the track remains ever-confident in its promises of new life. The post-metal rhythms elevate and send us into a total warp of perception. The ultimate sludge-drone field of churning doubt where we lay our heads is, quite simply, another world.

Deuil channel their hurt in a direction that saturates and completely submerges anyone nearby. Acceptance/Rebuild isn't gonna let you stuff down the pain. The wholly-unsettling manner through which they deliver this sludge leaves little time to notice the dirt; you're focusing on the dead. When you do find a way to cope, Deuil are gonna be directly at your side. It seems they've done this before. Hell, this album could serve as a clinic on loss, mourning, and how the fuck you move on.

For fans of: Rorcal, Mournful Congregation, Lycus
Pair with: Über Sun Imperial Summer Wheat, Southern Tier Brewing Company

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