Black Shape Of Nexus / Kodiak – Split 12″ 2010

Black Shape Of Nexus/Kodiak - Split 12" 2010How do you approach 38 minutes of mind bending Doom?

Quite simply shut yourself away, roll a fat one and surrender to the complete process of immersing in the music.

Listening to the soundscapes on offer here is a delicate but rewarding process – two very different songs by two very different bands, both pushing at the creative limits of what they have chosen to do.

Breaking the them down for purpose of reviewing steals some of the delight in the journey this split release offers but is never the less a necessity – for best results though, play as a single track rather than the two.

Black Shape Of Nexus ‘Ville’

First up is Germany’s B.SON as they slowly lumber into view with earth and bowel shaking tones. The two minute long introduction does little to prepare you for the pummeling 22 minute epic on display here that moves through passages that are almost ‘songs’ in their own right, but more accurately are actually movements of musical dexterity.

Like some ancient beast lumbering over the plains the track is often simple and repetitive, exploring the feel of the riff and creating a dense atmosphere that seems humid and intoxicating long before the guttural vocals are wrenched into life somewhere around the 4 minute mark.

This is not however a simple case of bashing the listener over the head with the same metronome until they surrender – a sober melody cuts through this heavy soup that adds a mournful quality to the ‘Leave Me Alone’ vocal refrain that echoes over the proceedings.

Rather than lurch, ‘Ville’ drifts between these passages, it grooves and rumbles its dissent. Progressive it ain’t but all of a sudden you’ll find the riff you are nodding to is slightly different to the one you started on before that too is broken up by swirling feedback and minimal vocals as the song picks up pace towards it’s concluding eery whispered lullaby.

Kodiak ‘Town Of Machine’

Kodiak’s offering by comparison is no less dense, also formed in Germany they share a kindred nature with B.SON in their esthetic approach to creating a Doom-laden drone that eschews any care for constraint.

Clocking in at a mere 16 minutes this is the baby of the piece but forms a strange and somber coda to ‘Ville’s understated ending. It starts with a more free form introduction, sounding like the band wandered into the practice room and tuned up, recalling the zoned out fuzz of Sunn O ))). As each musician arrives they plug in and start the process of settling into a place where all of them are sucked down into the requisite mindset to drag the music kicking and screaming from its place of rest.

Which is why, when it transcending into a blissful and whispered echo of light and gentle ringing industrial notes, it may be somewhat confusing for those expecting a cacophony of doom-laden screams as suggested by the images conjured by the tracks title. As the song progresses it builds into an elephantine moment of sublimely down tuned guitar that whilst drastically upping the stakes in the track’s heaviness, doesn’t allow the seeming tranquility to fall away.

As I hinted at earlier, you can take the tracks as separate and stand alone pieces of music and both keep their heads above water with ease, but to really feel the benefit of this spilt collaboration, enjoy the piece as a whole and marvel that the two have combined so well to compliment each other rather than through disconnected music together for the ease of distribution.

Ultimately you feel like you may have been beaten into a case of tinnitus and at 38 minutes for two tracks it could be argued that there are more productive things you could probably do with your time. And while the answer is probably yes, few things can suck you in and simply put down a mark in a moment quite like this release.

Label: Denovali Records
Black Shape Of Nexus:
Kodiak: N/A

Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden