Excurse Sitra_ahra

Excurse - Sitra Ahra


Is it okay to call something “a long time in the making” if the recordings are five or six years old? Maybe not if it’s doom metal, maybe it’s kinda the character of the music and the mindset. It’s probably more important if the music is good or not, because who would want a Fear Incontinentum for the experimental doom genre?! With Excurse’s latest record Sitra Ahra the first one is true, the recordings are several years old, but fortunately the second one is nothing like that meager thing the Binford Tools-quartet released some years back. Sitra Ahra is highly convincing experimental doom metal to keep SunnO))) fans busy until the masters release their next milestone!

Too much pressure? I don’t think that Miguel Souto – Galicia’s very own version of Gnaw Their Tongues’ Maurice de Jong – ever lets anyone put any form of pressure onto his shoulders. The man just does whatever he wants, releases whatever he wants and whenever he wants to. Discogs lists more than three dozen releases under various moniker and in various bands, projects and constellations over the last ten years! Most of that is music between the corner stones of industrial, drone, doom and black metal and Excurse is one of those blackened drone-doom metal records with a bit more emphasis on the doom aspect. Bands like Pylar, Mizmor or Dragged into Sunlight come to mind, or also acts like Absent in Body, Koldovstvo or 夢遊病者 (Sleepwalker) – bands that make music that is always intense, sometimes “krautrock-ish” and often drenched in noise to give the listener and all-encompassing experience. Listen to Sitra Ahra on your headphones, and it’s completely unimportant to have noise-cancelling ones as the music always has this slight undertone of feedback drone underneath its movements, and I can guarantee you that you will close your eyes and drop out from your surroundings after less than two minutes. Because Miguel has created such well-proportioned chunks of heavy riffs tenderized with just the right amount of time between each other that I am pretty sure that he has been following the godfathers of drone-metal, aka Stephen and Greg, for some time and has learned how to balance out heaviness with pause, for too many heavy as f*** riffs will not give you the possibility to fill the blanks. Overpowering one’s mind is not always the best idea.

Take for example the very first moment of the opener ”Sacred Dance” - one hellishly loud riff like the explosion of the sun but then he lets it drone out and about for nearly 45 seconds before the next nova explodes and pulls you into deeper into the track. Now the riffs come along faster and after about half one notices the addition of a second guitar line and some synth modulations, and then dark, deep funeral doom growls. Combined with a strong use of the cymbals for a “beat” the track is a perfect opener for your spiral-out-of-control-experience.

The second track ”Beyond the Nile of Sleep” opens with some mellow clean guitar pickings and then lets go of control after a few seconds. But here one can notice the inversion Souto is creating – the vocals are mixed by black metal screams and clean mumblings, the bass is more prominent and somewhat tubular in the background (yeah, I can see the paradox in that sentence!) and the guitars are swirling around the vocals on a steady course to drowning between the riverbanks of the Nile.

The whole album is 38 minutes long and the last of the four tracks is ”Séance”, which is also the longest with more than 16 minutes. Here the feedback orgies are back and ebbing out before a somewhat industrial séance session begins. That track is like the summary of everything we heard before – and man, it’s really good. If you are unsure whether you want to listen to the whole thing, just give this track a go and I am pretty sure you will listen to the complete record afterwards.

No matter when these songs were written, recorded or mastered – the music is overwhelmingly good and gives you an experience that you might never forget. Even if you want to. I sure as hell hit repeat over and over again.