This review originally appeared on This Noise Is Ours March 17. Review by James Williams.
I’ve not visited Easter Europe for a little while on here. It’s such a rich breeding ground for underground extreme metal bands at the moment. The Ukraine’s Moloch continues to release new bodies of ambient black metal, Zagreb’ noisemakers Hazarder have recently toured the UK in support of their Mordgrimm released album and now Duskburn have produced this three-track sludge/doom EP via Cimmerian Shade Recordings.
As a band, this four-piece have been producing music since 2007, where they started as a death metal band. As the years and releases went by, their sound changed and they moved towards a sludgier sound. Atum sees them build on that sound. Heck, they’re due to support the mighty Sourvein and Graves At Sea in Zagreb next month, so that tells you all you need to know.
t’s always an eye opener hearing how bands from different regions, portray certain sub-genres. Some bands inject inspiration from their homeland into their music, like singing in their native tongues and others stick more rigidly to the blueprints layer out for them. Duskburn are different. They have a very organic sound that is very obvious from the start of Between The Swarm. The guitars are the overriding element, providing melody and atmosphere. The skillful drumming behind them provides a layer of originality to their sludge as well.
Between The Swarm takes a while to get going, but after that rousing build up they stop, before revealing a more death-doom direction. That stop was a bit unnecessary for me, as it slowed the momentum of the track but that momentum is regained by the minimalism of the song and the gloomy feeling that the band creates as they crawl through the song’s near nine and a half minute length. The characteristic feedback and slow rhythmic passages give the game away later on, with the feedback at times sounding like whirling air raid sirens that threaten to disorientate you. The joy for me is their thick guitar passages, that sound so clear and pronounced.
Compared to Atum’s opener, the title-track is brief and just under six minutes and it shows a slightly different side to Duskburn’s songwriting. There’s more treble from the guitars and the song seems more focused, with the quiet-loud dynamics that injected into it. At times it’s gentle and at other’s it can be explosive, the band still manages to show a great deal of restraint in the mid-section, choosing to offer up a measured instrumental passage. The vocals are a mixture of darkened hardcore scream and mid-pitch death metal growls, but when the deeper backing roars enter the fray, they add more heft and menace to the song.
Closing song Seamless seems to get slower still. The simple yet clever guitar nestling alongside almost whispered vocals that hint at louder things to come and the due vocals work in harmony to make things more claustrophobic. Seamless sometimes feels more akin to black metal, which is no band thing. The bass is more prominent and Duskburn use the song as a chance to experiment with effects and textures, which present the song in more of an improvisational way. Duskburn’s strong point is definitely their ability to weave simple strands of instrumentation together to create songs that sound more complex but also pleasingly complete on the ear. Seamless is even a cleansing, euphoric experience at it draws to a close. Atum may be a mere three-tracks but it’s plenty enough to help you decide if you’re into them. I’m into them for sure and I definitely can’t wait to hear what they do with their next full-length.
Summon the 6-panel digipak: Buy Now $5.00