What the Hell was that, and may I please have some more? The latest release from one-man band The Clearing Path is a true jackhammer to the skull, a wonderful and horrifying transcendental listening experience that truly feels one of a kind. A lot of bands lately have gone down similarly progressive rabbit holes (Ulsect, Deathspell Omega, Departe), though few have done it quite like Gabriele Garmaglia has here. It’s dark, dissonant, harrowing, and oh so heavy. Yet, this is truly progressive, weaving in long stretches of transcendental atmosphere that border on the bright. I haven’t dabbled in music theory since high school choir (don’t ask how long ago that was), but I hear some sparing use of the major scale, which contrasts wonderfully with the crushing dissonance. Believe me, when this record gets heavy, few can craft these types of dissonant black/death maelstroms that are this affecting. This is music that truly sticks with you.
Also, Gramaglia’s voice traverses a wide spectrum: black metal shrieks, low bellowing growls, and haunted sung melodies. Smartly, his voice feels like another instrument, often fading out of play so the background music can take center stage. I don’t want to spoil the joyous listening experiences that are held within these four songs, but suffice it to say, The Clearing Path have clearly written a modern post-black metal classic that uses its influences masterfully. It’s a bit late for album of the year talks, but few records in 2017 have smacked me across the face, held my attention this well, and made a lasting impression like this. For those that can stomach dissonant, progressive music, I think you’ll be just as enamored with this as I am.