All The Heavens Were A Bell “Still Black Water As Deep As Forever”

There was no fucking about when it came to this duo naming this band, song titles, and album. A new project from Esme Louise Newman aka Penance Stare, and Panurus Productions label head James Watts, this three track demo release is a live-to-tape drone doom noise crossbreed. Blackened, but not cliché blackened, and Doom but without actual legs-akimbo riffs, “Still Black Water As Deep As Forever” is a caustic dredge around the outer lines of those genres.

Birthed through burning circuits and furious downstrokes, “I Returned My Tears To The Sea” is a corrosion that soon reveals itself as a deadweight guitar noise surrounded by fire and raining digital ash. Ravaged strings and great booming depth charges, the song’s char is cut through with curdled treble calls that bleed through, then spin echoing around the space.

A series of slow-motion claustrophobic slams, “The House Is A Cage” is the strongest cut here. Tension grips and pressure pivots through an ever decreasing spiral of salt lines and treble, coiling around the listener. The shortest piece at around six minutes, it feels like it was hauled from the hollows of the void and churns like anxiety and tinnitus.

“A Martyr’s Kiss” begins on comparatively safe ground, recognisable guitar sounds make it feel like we are back on consecrated ground. The song is an unchanging grind, the only aural relief is the feedback reaching out of the dark water of noise like fingers of the drowned. Blown out in its final third, the sound of metal on metal is submerged and then faded out.

A loud and bleak beginning.

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