Review: Lautreamont – Silence of the Deceased
Since that day, the only weather has been soot. Rebar juts from piles of blasted concrete like fingers searching for a hold. A crumbling warehouse in the distance is the tallest structure for miles, but none seek shelter within. There are stories—of strange voices, machines that never sleep, even spirits. No one knows the origin of the word etched along the building’s side, but it is whispered of by candlelight: Lautreamont.
On their debut LP, Silence of the Deceased, the Novorossiysk (RU)-based trio fuse a core of blackened death metal with a variety of genres, the most prominent being industrial music. From the first seconds of opening track “Evil,” an aura of inhumanity enshrouds the album: synchronized start-stop rhythms call to mind the hammering of factories, and cold synths scrape in the distance. Every effort has been made to erase the faults of the flesh, especially through the effect on Alex Zarotiadi’s vocals. A bitcrushed filter erodes his voice throughout; the impact is similar to the vocal layering on Behemoth‘s Demigod, but rather than distracting from the music, it adds to the atmosphere of degradation.
The ubiquitous synth patches add to this ambience, borrowing their sound from aggrotech, an electronic subgenre that rose to prominence in the late 90’s with acts such as Combichrist and Painbastard. Known for their distorted instrumentals and misanthropic outlook, their influence pairs well with the harsh world Lautreamont have created on Silence of the Deceased. The patches aren’t merely barbed wire garnish along the perimeter of the songs—they play an active role in riffing as well. After a stream of tormented howls from Zarotiadi, “Evil” ends with a pulsing synth that intertwines with Vladimir Fomenko’s double bass drums for one of the album’s most harrowing moments.
These electronic elements, in combination with the low-end of Denis Paschenko’s 8-string guitar (and Zarotiadi’s bass), create a claustrophobic density that permeates the album. On tracks “Father” and “The Hour,” walls of dissonant death metal close in around the listener. Like with any effective dystopian vision, it’s the discomfort, the alien nature of the material that enthralls, encouraging the exploration of dark futures from the (relative) safety of the present.
Lautreamont differ from the Ulcerates of the world by incorporating aspects of groove metal along with the dissonance. The majority of the album passes by at mid-tempo, granting a level of accessibility, even during the most angular sections. The bouncing rhythms of “Psalm” and “Epitaph” reflect another tenet of the genre: intensity over technicality. Rather than swarming over the songs in a blur, every note in these riffs makes an impact. The silences between notes have their own role to play, heightening the tension before each triplet or palm mute.
Blackened death metal can be a monochromatic slog in its purest form, clinging to its roots to the point of stagnation. Lautreamont’s sonic experiments bring a sense of adventure and unpredictability to the genre that culminates in the album highlight, “Psalm.” Beginning with doom riffs and jazz drum fills, the song quickly pivots to pummeling Meshuggah-style grooves and OSDM tremolo runs before a minute passes. A melodic break ensues, offering a moment of reprieve, an opening in the oppressive cloud cover of the album—Zarotiadi’s bass wanders out from under the guitar, joining Fomenko’s drums for an impromptu funk session.
Despite the rapid transitions between genres, the songwriting never feels disjointed. As “Psalm” flows into its post-metal finale, awash with reverb and bittersweet melody, the impression is of a complete journey. Like the works of the Surrealist poet from which the band derive their name, Silence of the Deceased functions as a nightmare playground where violence and serenity meet, and no thought is taboo.
3.5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
Silence of the Deceased is out now and available on Bandcamp.