Six Organs of Admittance “The Veiled Sea”

About 30 seconds into “Somewhere in the Hexagon of Saturn,” Ben Chasny’s guitar rips a hole in the atmosphere, loudly announcing his arrival. For roughly eight minutes straight, he never lets up, cranking a constant sonic barrage that’s never overwrought or overdone, it simply overwhelms. That sense of dazed wonder is the driving force behind The Veiled Sea. It’s a Six Organs album like no other.

Chasny pushes on, grinding his strings into a pile of ash as “Somewhere in the Hexagon of Saturn” wires its way toward a darkening horizon. The bass looping beneath is hypnotic and a flicker of guitar floats effervescently in the air throughout, but it’s the relentless fire that pushes everything else to the side, a reminder of what it feels like to live. Catharsis bleeds from the speakers, each note an arrow straight at the sun.

This shrine to the shred is only the first clue that The Veiled Sea lives in unexpected spaces. “All They Left You” is dystopian. From Chasny’s robotic, processed vocals to the driving, automaton drum machine rhythms, this is the music to play when the lights finally go out for good. On the surface, it’s a shock, but as soon as the bellicose guitar slides down the neck, straight for the gut, the fuse is lit and Chasny explodes once again. Even with all the accouterments, all the blitzkrieg synths, and howling basslines, The Veiled Sea is still a guitar album at its core. Closing with a neon-hued cover of Faust’s “J’ai Mal aux Dents.” Chasny may have joined the space race, but his rocket boosters are still crashing straight into the Earth.

Six Organs has stood at the summit for decades because Ben Chasny is never afraid to follow the demons wherever they go. He’s made one of the best acoustic guitar albums of the 21st century (For Octavio Paz), gone on transcendent journeys (School of the Flower), and even helped those of us who fight it every night, fall asleep (Sleep Tones), but his path is singular. Six Organs of Admittance is one of the all-timers, and if The Veiled Sea is any indication, he’s going to still be standing on the rubble long after the world falls apart. 

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