Which moment might be the hardest in all of the history of mankind? Answer Rorcal: That one moment – for each person individually or as a whole society – when we realize that the end is unavoidable that we cannot change it anymore no matter what we do about it. The moment of total silence. Of course, their new album is not one of complete Silence, it’s just the idea behind it. Nevertheless, this kind of “silence” might be one of the most brutal, devastating and haunting ones ever.
One should not underestimate the importance of the pandemic and the record that Rorcal released in the middle of it: Witch Coven, (here our review) their collaboration with their former band member and original bass player Bruno under his moniker Earthflesh, might have been one of the heaviest things they have ever done, even considering their perchance for heavy, dense, claustrophobic sounds. Here at VoS we have even you given a lengthy, detailed look at their immensely important HLGBLS record and we also looked closely at their last regular full-length Muladona, their sonic (onslaught) adaptation of Eric Stener Carlson’s book of the same name.
If anybody wants to say that Rorcal are back with a record of a totally different character, then I’d be laughing. However, if anybody told me that they are doing the same thing over and over again, then I’d be laughing. Too. Because yes, their sound is still Black Metal, dark, enigmatic, engaging, disturbing Black Metal. However, there are moments when we witness a side of the Swiss wizards that is in some ways different. Listen to the little lack of noisey elements and you witness the difference to Witch Coven. Detect the near-clean vocals in ”Extinguished Innocence” and it will be clear that this is not the same band that release that bastard called HLGBLS thirteen years ago. At Soulcrusher, their drummer Ron, our man Martin and me had a discussion whether this record is a bit tamer than their previous ones and we agreed one thing: This record in a way is their most extreme one because the different elements and parts of the entire soundscape are more wide-spread than ever before resulting in the fact that the harsh attacks seem even harsher because some of the more melodious parts are a bit more melodic as well. And as the music is reaching out further to both sides of the spectrum the middle in between is bigger and thus the edges seem more profound. Thus it remains up to the listener whether he is more agitated by the calmer or more thundering parts, both are there – the tiniest of silver lining coming in to your isolation cell at the end of death row with a dozen doors between the source of light and yourself AND simultaneously one might also feel more in the middle of the storm than ever before because the black is blacker than ever via the contrasting white at its side.
There are however things that remain the same with Rorcal and they probably always will: The band is not trying to give us only music for our ears, they also give us a lot of food for thought. Imagine the moment when the catastrophe is upon us, there is no way back, there is no escape, there is no way out, the only way is further towards that end. That moment is the title-giving Silence, because what is there to be said when we (as individuals or as a whole species) have achieved what we are seemingly striving for since our beginning. That moment of utter failure, of complete oncoming destruction and afterwards the abyss that only the cockroaches will live to see and live through. The tracks are a glimpse at how abysmal and un-survivable that end will be, there is ”No Alleviation, even in Death and any strife towards embroidering and stressing that silver lining is futile, for ”Hope is a Cancer” and after everything is wasted and done, the only thing left will be the ”Constant Void”.
We have to talk about the final track for a moment, because we are also heading towards the end of this review: ”No Alleviation, even in Death” is one of the most profound pieces of music I have heard all year long: It starts with an Industrial soundscape stretching above and beyond and reveals the Doomy character of the track only after like 150 seconds and when both sides are combined in the second half with the metallic clunking in the background and the harsh Doom parts floating into angular Noise bits – this is what black magic is to me.
Rorcal, ladies and gentlemen. Not your average band with no average record – they’re all perfect in their own right and existence. This record is their most post-apocalyptic one ever, but who knows what that moment will sound like. We will probably not hear it, for according to Blixa ”Silence is sexy / So sexy / As sexy as death […] Just your silence is not sexy at all”. And with these enigmatic lines I will leave you to your own judgment on the nature of Rorcal Silence :