Holy fuck, 20 Buck Spin can really pick them, can’t they? Whether it be the raw, filth-grind and rotten runoff of Gravesend, the mystic death-blooms of Wode, or the cosmic terror of Tomb Mold, when it comes to death metal, there are few labels you should trust more with your attention and cold hard cash. Now the Pittsburgh imprint has thrown its considerable curatorial weight behind Finnish death metal band Ghastly, and that should be enough for you to want to check out their latest LP, Mercurial Passages. In the case it’s not though, keep reading. I’m going to convince you to check out this record even if it causes me to have to be committed in a county hospital.
The seven-part cosmic defilement of your consciousness that is Mercurial Passages sounds like if Beherit stumbled across the Arch of the Covenant while on vacation somewhere in North Africa, opened it, and instead of exploding into ash or melting like a popsicle in the sun, acquired all of the terrible and mind-obliterating secrets of the universe. The catch is that they can only communicate these horrid truths to other humans in pained, gasps, rasps and riddles. Now if you slide a few dark currents of oceanic grooves and stone-smoothing tremolos under these gastral gesticulations toward the fathomless depths of the uncanny then you’ll have something truly and magnificently malevolent to grovel for your life before. And that’s about the best way I can think to describe Mercurial Passages. Something you should treat like a god, and which will be as indifferent towards your suffering as any of deity of a conventional faith you could name.
“Ouroborus” begins patiently, introducing the clockwork tick and grind of the band’s infernal and internal machinations, guiding you past all of its bloody gears and meat-clogged wheels towards an ever more graphic aural assault on your senses. “Out Of The Psychic Blue” pick ups the tempo and introduces doomy blues riffs that knot around your neck like a collar and lead you into the mossy, damp and stiflingly pollinated caverns of its interior. “Perdition” rips and rages against its confines the way you’d expect Watain and similarly positioned black metal bands to do, before transitioning into a worm-eaten psychedelic tapestry of woe and mental disintegration. “Parasites” follows in a dire mood of malady incarnate, like a hopeless and despondent convalescent praying to the wraith of Chuck Schuldiner to relieve them of their psychic afflictions, clutching a copy of Leprosy to their chest as the rock on the floor and weep. The album closes with another pelagic and savagely stoic track “Mirror Horizon,” which through its grasping, mangling chords, persistently binding grooves, and pertinacious percussion, successfully dispatches the impression that you are being pulled by your hair and the skin of your face through a demonic portal that has opened in the reflection of your bathroom mirror.
You can buy and stream Mercurial Passages below via Bandcamp: