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Futurist's Against the Ocean

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For those who are paying attention to the doom metal scene, Futurist's Against the Ocean sells itself without one note being heard. Just look at who is involved and their pedigree: G. Stuart Dahlquist from Sunn 0))) on bass, B.R.A.D. from Burning Witch on drums and vocals, and Trey Spruance from Mr. Bungle on guitar, piano, and tubular bells. Rounding out the lineup is John Schuller from Master Musicians of Bukkake on guitar, Jessika Kenney from Gamelan Pacifica on vocals, and Troy Swanson on organ. If that was not enough to get the salivary glands pumping, Billy Anderson is behind the producer's desk like he was for High on Fire, Sleep, and Melvins. For those familiar with the names, Asva's sound should come as no surprise. But where other avant-metal supergroups (Fantômas, for example, or Tomahawk) don't deliver on their promise, Asva takes a glorious heavy racket, removed from the regular tropes of the doom scene enough to make both this group and this album something really special. The opening track, "Kill the Dog, Tie Them Up, Then Take the Money," is the most conventional track, moving at a glacial pace, with guitars inching from one note to the next, almost as if the metallic drone of the amps were playing through the guitars, and not the other way around. But by track three, "Fortune," the ambience has taken over, and the metal melts away. Droning organ, loping bass, and spiders-on-the-fretboard guitar scrapings set the scene for Kenney's vocals. More operatic (think Diamanda Galás) than tortured (like Khanate's Alan Dubin), Kenney's pure tones are easier on the ear than the scene-standard barked whisper/growling. This leads right into the epic closer, "By the Well of Living and Seeing," which melds the ambience of "Fortune" and the droning assault of "Kill the Dog" to Kenney's multi-tracked chanting vocals and a guitar straight out of an Ennio Morricone score. It is a perfect summation of the album, and Asva's sound in general: operatic ambient western doom metal, to pin words on it. Recommended heartily for those interested in the avant-metal scene.

Futurist's Against the Ocean, Asva
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