Premiere: Potmos Hetoimos – “III. The Silicon Mirror”
Slay the Gorgon, break the reign of Polydectes. An immortal task, what is such a labor when the gods are on my side? With this shield, gilded and shimmering, as my mirror, and this god-forged blade fit to cleave the spawns of Echidna, who am I to quaver from my the fate dealt me? That sound; that slithering rasp, that belching tongue. Medusa is nigh. Do not succumb to the fear within. Do not succumb and fail yet again. Strike fast and true, Perseus. Use your shield, your helm, and avoid her baleful gaze. Strike true and rend the snake-adorned head from trunk. Strike fast and true, and trust in your “Silicon Mirror.” Suffer not the stone leer of Vox Medusae.
Greetings, conquerors, and welcome to perhaps the most intriguing premiere I’ve yet had the pleasure of unveiling here at Toilet ov Hell. Today I’m pleased as hell to champion your cause and help raise your fist against the coiling evil within, courtesy of a brand new track from Potmos Hetoimos‘s eleventh(!) album Vox Medusae. A little bit sludgey, a little bit proggy, and all beguiling, “III. The Silicon Mirror” is the third chapter in Potmos Hetoimos’s most personal music exploration ever, told through the serpentine narrative of myth swallowing the tail of reality. And much like the Gorgoneion, the track has to be approached carefully, critically, to get a sense of its might and power.
Vox Medusae finds multi-instrumentalist Matt Matheson casting himself as the dire Perseus, risking life and limb to destroy a slithering evil of addiction coiled about his heart, threatening the very fabric of his reality. While that conceit may sound almost silly in writing, it’s clear from the gravity of the track that this journey is personal and important, and we’re fortunate to be along for the ride.
Drain your sum, your parts, your whole.
“III. The Silicon Mirror” finds Matheson as Perseus facing himself in the mirror and seeing within a reflection of the Gorgon addiction. This ghoul manifests itself not just lyrically in Matheson’s own spoken fears or through the guest vocals of Curse‘s Jane Vincent, but in the way piano and jazz arrangements clash against violent tremolo lines and ophidian walls of reverb. As Matheson as Perseus struggles against these adders, his thrashing about for self-restraint told through a bucking, jaunty bass crunch reminiscent of prog metal acts like Leprous, the hateful snakes spit electronic noise and venomous blasts at him constantly. As the track progresses, the thrashing cacophony of disparate styles amplifies, highlighting and accentuating Matheson’s fight against his Gogrgonian desires. At approximately, 4:40, the internal struggle reaches a momentous climax; the percussive roar, reminiscent of Plebeian Grandstand, collides against the increasingly tortured vocals and a foreboding piano line, eventually breaking against Perseus’ shield like a syncopated wall of clattering stone.
Dying of thirst, I seek water from a spring that has never once quenched.
A track this dense demands repeated listens, but there is far more at play than even the complexity of the arrangements. For Vox Medusae, Matheson employs a variety of non-traditional musical scales. Vincent’s Medusa narration is told in harmonic Locrian, while other portions of the album see Matheson dabbling in Lydian Dominant or Hungarian Augmented. It all lends the track (and the album itself) a density, a confusion, a weight. There is a great sense of struggle in the way disparate styles compete for the listener’s ear, paralleling Matheson’s as Perseus’ own conflict for mastery of the monsters that torment him.
It’s fascinating, engaging, and, at its best, heroic.
Take the fight below with this exclusive video.
Vox Medusae drops September 12th via Toilet pal Dave Tremblay’s Not Music label. You can get it on Bandcamp here and find Potmos Hetoimos on Zuckbook here.