With ‘Suicide Sex Pact’, Tampa’s Servants Of The Mist have released a half hour of devastating doom that’s just as fatal as its title.
First track ‘Absence‘ opens with a slurred sample of creepy Christian classic ‘Jesus Loves Me‘, also recently used by dearly-departed UK doom fiends Ishmael on their track ‘Buried With Fingers Crossed’; whether it’s being sung by a children’s choir or a drunken depressive, the effect is just as chilling. Why do those weak enough to need the Christian crutch take comfort from lines like “Little ones to him belong – they are weak, but he is strong“? I will never grasp the complicit surrender of self to a fictional character just to give people an excuse for their pathetic, weak-minded actions. That docile servitude, indoctrinated since birth as the sampled song proves, has been exploited to nefarious ends for millenia by now, and is still given free reign to continue. Baffling.
The sample draws to a close, replaced by the piercing feedback that has been a genre staple ever since a group of New Orleans miscreants first started to Hate God back in the late ’80s. Guttural growls over distortion and feedback is not a new formula by any means, but the Servants choke the life out of it regardless. What sets them apart is that they sound truly miserable, and by the time the track lumbers to an end you’ll have felt every damn ounce of their weight upon your shoulders. I think that depressive atmosphere is what attracts me to this particular strain of heavy; there’s no better soundtrack to wallowing in your bad decisions, and realising that life is a disappointment.
With the Burning Witch-esque howls of ‘Behind The Curtain‘, that interminably terminal feeling of heavy-heartedness continues. The guitar solo that coils its way around the neck of the song like a noose is just as tight and constrictive as that analogy. Throughout its ten minute running time, it never deviates from its set course; a direct dive into the depths of despair.
The title track begins with horrid burbling, gurgling, scraping racket, accompanied by intonations of “you are worthless” repeated over and over, which is essentially the basic tenet of all sludge metal. The intro dies down, replaced with sparse guitar for a short spell, before launching into an utterly crushing doomed plod. Things get weird around the halfway point, as all distortion and growling is stripped away in favour of a warbling baritone vocal and almost funky guitar. It’s like Barry White gone doom. It’s so bizarre that when things move back into heavy territory, you’ll wonder if that really just happened. Consequent listens reveal it did indeed. Fucking weird.
With this release, Servants Of The Mist may not be reinventing the wheel, but they do give it a few more screeching spins on its rusted axle. Highly recommended if you like your doom despondent, and your samples unsettling.
Scribed by: Ross McKendrick