07 Aug 2022 - Brayden
Avantgarde Free Jazz, Goregrind | Putrefactive Recordings | Release date: 22 Jun 2022
After hearing Effluence’s Sarmat I can say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to believe the blueprint to metal was founded by the likes of Black Sabbath. There have been fundamental bands decades later that too are abjected comparatively to Effluence.
From what was raspy singing to beastly growls and shrills have now been extended to different realms of madness-historically metal has proven to persist in its fight against what is accepted in our society. Metal and its iconoclastic stubbornness has led to a thirst for the unorthodox, even for its own standards: metal wants to alienate itself further by even opposing trends of the unholy, grotesque music it has fostered; Effluence are among the few that sit atop this hill of filthiness. Just when the question “How much heavier can music get?” arose, Effluence responded with a demonic 26 minute single-songed EP for a cacophony of wicked sensations and noises.
The debut Psychosephalic Spawning saw an infant Matt Stephans (a.ka. Effluence) play violent and uncontrolled metal in the same vein as Encenathrakh. Rooted in the traditions of grindcore, brutal death metal, and noise, he effectively paid tribute to bands like Gorguts with his “free death.” This model had no recognizable riffs, grooves, licks, drum fills, vocal lines – it played out seemingly random notes that just so happened to be borrowed from metal. His incoherence was paralleled by jazz according to the few that heard. To others the sound he practiced was just another addition to the vast collection of mindless technicality. Although I shared a similar sentiment, I still enjoyed the release and suspected something much greater. So, when I heard the new EP Sarmat I was pleasantly surprised what the future may hold.
Upon the very first second of Sarmat his model is already altered. Beginning with a brief piano accompaniment, Matt Stephens vocals have switched from the gurgling of Last Days of Humanity, and other goregrind acts, to the ghoulish vocals of Timeghoul or Portal. Not even two minutes in and the piano comes back – and this time along with Zappa’s blaring horn. Now a compilation of freakish woodwinds, rampant piano, and an incessant horn, Sarmat dives into and out of the post-jazz sonic assault. His ghastly vocal presence suddenly peers through the wall of noise revealing something else: the metal has stopped. Instead, the song progresses into a peculiar sort of lounge music of discordant bells until the song picks up again reviving the cacophony. Alternations between the metal-chaos and jazz constantly vary the experience. Sometimes the jarring music is interrupted by noise, shoegaze, prog-rock and ambient. Many ideas are presented within the single stream of consciousness that is Sarmat, which is not the album that preceded it. The elements they do share must be contorted in order to be so discordant that the basis is unrecognizable.
Unlike many of the contemporaries within the metal world, this is neither geometric nor is it mindless; Effluence has struck a delicate balance between these two in the form of a composition that seems to be an organism. Likewise, Glenn Branca comes to mind in the countless subversions, and inventions that further separate metal from its roots – these are the basis for this EP. However, I do not believe this will remain Effluence’s greatest release, there is much more room to grow. Sarmat proved this.