Review: Everson Poe ‘The Night Country’

If you like your music like you like your fairground rides, and in particular rollercoasters, then The Night Country by Everson Poe, will have you desperate to climb on board and want to set off on a thrill ride. If you like your music a little less intense, then this ride just isn’t for you. I’m just getting that in early, in preparation for what’s to come.

Everson Poe 'The Night Country'

Flitting between somber introverted moments, and passages of absolute aural insanity, Everson Poe, aka, Mae Shults, weaves an absolute beast of an album. Leaving no stone unturned, be prepared to dive in to the nightmarish world of Everson Poe, it’s not for the faint of heart.

If you are unaware of Mae Shults/Everson Poe, and want to take from this review, and delve deeper, be prepared, the back catalogue is vast. By vast, I mean there’s an absolute mountain of material to scale, to get a true feel for the artist, and their work. So, instead of tying you down in information, I’m going to focus on the album at hand, and if you like what you hear, then be prepared to scale that mountain.

The Night Country is five tracks of post-black, doom, rock, and sludge intensity. It’s played out over the course of just over forty-eight minutes, with the shortest track being The House Of Death, an instrumental interlude. Don’t get comfortable in this knowledge, the three-minute-sixteen-second soundscape still has room for screams, soaring over the somber ambience, and isn’t overly any sort of respite.

Each track begins in a somewhat calm space, and as the mood builds, so does the intensity and ferocity as the album opener, I Am The Maker Of My Own Evil, introduces us to this right from the start. A subdued entrance gives a false sense of hope, as a somewhat shoegaze, dreamlike phase, ushers us in. Weaving soundbites of spoken passages through the piece, entwined with the vocals, giving it a real sense of depth, it leaves me completely unprepared for what’s coming next.

At the midway point, all hell breaks loose, and the quiet start is smashed away by blast beat drumming and screeched death metal vocal. This only solidifies everything I think I’m anticipating, but not to the level at which is about to hit me. Between introverted inspection, and guttural outpouring, it’s as painful as it is beautiful.

Between introverted inspection, and guttural outpouring, it’s as painful as it is beautiful…

Completely engaging, thunderous, and unique, to take extremes and mix them so competently is a rarity. By the time the dying minutes are upon me, I conclude that the rulebook has been completely scrapped, in favour of going with something emotionally driven, more than structurally built.

The Girl With No Hands fully solidifies how things are going to go for the remainder of the album. After initially thinking, or maybe hoping, that track two may offer some form of temporary respite, and a moment to process what I’ve just witnessed, within thirty seconds, it was concluded that this just wasn’t meant to be. Again, the wailed vocal over doom soundscapes provides a nightmarish reality that I really need to buckle in for.

The use of spoken monologue soundbites adds to the piece, giving yet more intensity. That being said, for all of the blast beats, screams, and everything else going on, it still manages to capture some sort of retro eighties feel. Maybe it’s those early shoegaze elements, but when coupled with the blast beats, it’s as if a totally new beast has been spawned into life.

Both The Chamber Of Blood, and What A Pretty Bird Am I, without meandering on too much, continue the theme that has been set. If you’ve gotten this far, and are hungry for more, then strap yourself in, because it isn’t getting ANY easier. All of the hallmarks are firmly in place, the latter two tracks solidify everything you will need to be ready for with Everson Poe.

This is why it is nye on impossible to define Everson Poe into any one genre, unless ‘terrifying horror soundscape nightmare’ music has become a thing in the last few weeks. It’s nightmarish but in a completely enthralling way. Definitely not for in the car with the children, but more for when you need to let it all out and want something that matches your ferocity. The Night Country, will give you a trip in to hell that you won’t soon forget.

As an introduction to Everson Poe, this is as eye opening as I think you could get. It’s heavy, yet sombre. It’s controlled madness, and then it’s also moments of genius. It’s a journey, that’s for sure. Buckle up buttercup, this ride is going to take you right into the guts of hell, and back again.

Label: Trepanation Recordings
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Scribed by: Lee Beamish