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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Sludge: Ortega - "Crows"

"How can you listen to that screaming and all that noise?" I can't listen to it for you, and explaining to you why I love the music I do would parallel Neil deGrasse Tyson trying to convince Ken Ham of just about anything. There's a catharsis, I guess. There's a tightening and a release, a heave and a purge, even a melody here or there. But without a hook, a lyric you can understand, or a three-minute force-fed package of polished shit, you'll never hold their attention. And that's sad.

You're not gonna find much elation in Ortega's Crows, a one-track taste from the nederlanders' as-yet unnamed album expected later this year. The near-nineteen minute crusher is as close to despondent as you could imagine, but fuck all if it doesn't sound goddamn delicious. Crows offers a couple smoke breaks, but when the swells become storms, make sure your neighbors aren't watching. Continuing in the band's style of "epic ocean doom," the heights, depths, and expanses are explored in the track's rich, blackened turmoil.

Density saturates the onset, slowly coaxing us into a mammoth cavern offering little light and even less life. Waves smack, vocals emerge from the darkest depths, and Ortega go heavy on the post metal via majestic licks piercing a darkened sky. Somber reflection marries isolation, somehow spanning the most vast of scopes. Weathered forms start to give and the sounds crack everything they touch. Peppered in are distant plucks, circling and dazing until a viscous push swallows and distends. Listeners won't notice the burning hum, as the stomp of sludge delivers far more devastation.

Spiraling nightmares trump the burning buzz, unlocking trapped memories and tripping a black stutter that tries to tell us there's no redemption, no inward glimpse of hope. Here again, Ortega jump the tracks between violent and tranquil, but Crows offers an existential fade that's more internally combative than their previous efforts. Freedom from death's grips simply isn't on the menu this morning. But some find beauty in death. Some find beauty in darkness. Some will get it.

For fans of: Neurosis, The Ocean, Isis
Pair with: Happy Ending Belgian Abbey Ale

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