Edinburgh's masters of misery Of Spire & Throne satisfy my craving for tectonic heaviness in a way few other bands can. Their devastating dirges have had me swaying perilously close to collapse the couple of times I've caught them live, and their latest release Toll Of The Wound captures their particularly intense strain of doom perfectly.
The disjointed martial rhythm of the opening track can scarcely prepare you for what's to come, as 'Legacy' erupts in a bludgeoning riff, soon joined by guitarist/vocalist Ali Lauder's subterranean, subhuman roar. The cumulative effect is genuinely disturbing, sending a shiver up your spine before crumbling it into dust, as the band alternate between short sharp shocks and guitar-strangling sludgier sections.
There's not a moment of relief to be found, and even the introductory percussive atmospherics of following track 'Tower Of Glass' will set you on edge, dreading what could be coming next with every cymbal tap. This sense of unease continues throughout, as the band never quite bring the track to any kind of conclusion, with Lauder and bassist Matt Davies seeming more content to meander malevolently around Graham Stewart's brilliantly restrained drumming. The looser structure of this track is no bad thing, but a comfortable listen it is not.
Sure to be one of the few releases this year truly worthy of the word crushing, this release is currently available on both CD and tape via the US-based Broken Limbs Records, with a vinyl release to follow soon. For UK folks, the band themselves have copies available via their bandcamp.
Check out my full unedited review of this release at Echoes & Dust...
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