ROTTING SKY - Sedation

Rotting Sky - Sedation

4 songs
39:27 minutes
***** ***
Sentient Ruin


Anybody remember death crust band Nux Vomica who were active from 2003 to last year, and whose last self-titled release from 2014 actually redefined the genre by seeing the band concocting two ten-minute and one twenty-minute track into something simply sublime. I was rather devastated when I learned of their demise, and was therefore very intrigued when I found out that their guitarist Tim Messing also had a solo project called Rotting Sky. His last album so far is called Sedation, and was released in the very same year where Nux Vomica released their final record. Sedation was a tape that came out on Grimoire Cassette Cvlture, unfortunately just at the moment when that label decided to end its activities, so that Sedation went rather unnoticed.

Now it has been rediscovered and remastered by Sentient Ruin Laboratories, who give it a release on tape, vinyl and digital download. Rotting Sky is rather different from Nux Vomica, but there are also parallels. Tim Messing combines extreme black metal with noise and ambient, and just like with his previous band, he still likes long tracks, so that this album is made up of four songs averaging ten minutes each. The production is very harsh, everything is – probably intentionally – distorted, making it at first hard to discern any details apart from the omnipresent noisy outburst of primeval black metal. But once you get the hang of this special sound, you will notice that there is much more to it than you initially suspected.

The opener Smile is an eight-minute-long outburst of black metal that reminds of very early Norwegian bands. You mostly hear the fast electric guitar and the pounding drums, but then soon underneath it all you will unearth a piano adding something more calm to the music. The vocals are harsh, evil black metal screams. An organ, once again buried underneath the brutal sound, adds a festive atmosphere later on. The following White Angels follows in the same footsteps, but goes even a little further by adding something like a chorus that is reoccurring several times, giving this song a sick sense of catchiness, but like before, you have to pay a lot of attention to make it out. After seven minutes, the song ends with four minutes of harsh noise devoid of any melody, which is possibly a good exercise in extreme noise terror, but otherwise would have worked better to end an album. But hey, it still ends the first side of the tape and the vinyl, only the digital listeners might consider skipping to the next track, and that’s Tyrants Of Sedation, once again a wild and unrelenting monster of a song, at twelve and a half minutes the album’s magnum opus. About eight minutes into this song, there follows a melodic break with an otherworldly distorted bass guitar that reminds me a little of the very early Type O Negative. The album concludes with the eight-minute-long Ivory, a drone metal piece consisting mostly of a slow rhythm with a pounding bass drum, an eerie organ and an impossibly distorted guitar. This sounds not unlike the Sunn O))).

Tim Messing comes from Portland, Oregon, a town on the North-western coast of the USA which is known for its important cultural output. In that way, Rotting Sky can be considered high art, taking elements from primitive black metal, ambient and noise, and transforming it into something actually quite unique. You have to have a disposition for extreme music in order to enjoy this bleak, dark, harsh masterpiece at its fullest.

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