09 Jul 2022 - Thorsten
Experimental Black Metal, Avantgarde Death Metal | The Flenser | Release date: 15 Jul 2022
Aveilut means “mourning” in Hebrew. Aveilut is a record about death and the feeling of loss. Aveilut is a record by two highly talented musicians. Aveilut is a record which will grip you by the throat, kiss you, embrace you, break your back while doing so and in the end will never leave your side. Miraculously wonderful.
Brendon Randall-Myers was a guest in our interview sessions a few weeks ago and we spoke with him about a lot of topics surrounding this record and now it is time to focus on the work itself. The record gives the listener not a lot of space to breathe but it is in no way suffocating. Which is pretty surprising in itself, given the circumstances this record was written in – conceptualized after two deaths that shook his core, and then writing it first in the confines of a Chinese covid19-lockdown and then in his home in Brooklyn which was located next to a morgue at the peak of the pandemic which turned New York City in a hotspot for pandemic-related deaths.
No wonder this record is called “mourning”, Brendon had a lot to mourn and most of all he was in a way mourning for himself, as one can imagine. Being confronted with so much death, the hole that surely had been torn wide open by then must have been of abyssal depths. And in an even bigger context, being the son of a family that has been part of a diaspora which had been suffering for decades at the hands of their persecutors in countless pogroms – that hole had already been there before. In order to cope with it he wrote these five cathartic segments which together form one 46-minute long epic; the segments are in a way necessary in order to be able to split it up, but here the CD-format really makes sense. The vocals on this record are performed by none other than Doug Moore whom many will know as the vocalist for Pyrrhon, Seputus or Weeping Sores – one of the voices in the modern, extreme metal realm!
But now what is so special about the Scarcity debut? The answer lies in the details, in the micro-tonal details, to be precise. This record is, musically speaking, either experimental death metal or blackened avantgarde. It is very often tumbling fast, blindingly screeching and yet, there are not only moments of blissful relaxation, for example the very beginning of the fourth segment which bends the experiments a bit towards industrial sounds. Furthermore, the use of 72-note-octaves and micro-tonal elements within his guitar work provides Brendon with the chance to use the guitar in a violin-sense at times so that there is some kind of “nice” sound. We witness a real master of his craft at work. It seems impossible to count how many layers of sound are interwoven on the record but they all make sense and all flow together in one bountiful record whose avantgarde character might never have found a home more appropriate than The Flenser, even though Scarcity surely are one of the “hardest” bands on their roster.
If anyone needs to know more on the effects of Randall-Myers’ guitar work, listen to the beginning of the fifth and last segment as it showcases the whole thing. It seems at first as if one is hearing a classical post-rock crescendo building up, but when listening more closely it is obvious that this is not one guitar-line but many little elements stumbling over each other (before the harsh synth parts set in) and then after two minutes there is one single line unfolding itself for a few seconds out of the micro-tonal, multitudinous “crescendos” and it does so brilliantly while the other guitar lines are fading into the background a bit in order to make space for other elements of the song. And believe it or not, the middle of this long segment might be regarded as “beautiful” in its original sense!
That is the last thing that needs to be said: Yes, these are two musicians of sheer unlimited talent. They can outperform nearly anybody and anything, including their own songs. But the whole record never is about showing off, it is about coping with that gargantuan hole in front of you without jumping into it. The record is able to provide aural sense and holds your hand so that the gap doesn’t overpower or over-mind you but that you can face it with both feet firmly on the group. In short it brings solace while you are “in mourning”. In Aveilut.