Withering Illusions and Desolation

Goatwarrex 2007

Desolate, the creative mastermind behind many other murky Australian black metal projects (Pestilential Shadows and Funeral Mourning) is at it again with his new outlet for inescapable bleakness, Austere.  With Austere the music follows a similar path as modern masters of despondency, Xasthur with long drawn out and repetitive riffing with loads of fuzz that sort of envelope the listener with a trance inducing haze.  The vocals are extreme to say the least reminding me sometimes of early material from In The Woods.  Occasionally this goes a little over the top such as at the 3 minute mark of Memories.  In any event though it is not a big distraction and adds even more anguish to the music.  There is more of a melodic edge to Austere's work than with Xasthur which serves to help connect with the listener on a more emotional and sorrowful level.  There is plenty of a Burzum influence on this album as well on such tracks as The Dawn Remains Silent and Unending Night.  The title track has more of a Cure beat hidden beneath a metallic skin but if you listen closely you can hear it.  The riffs are sweeping in a tragedy stricken embrace.  Coma is hypnotic in its simplicity and riff repetition as each riff reverbs and drones on as each chord is struck.  One might expect with so much output from one creative fountain might drain the source but so far Desolate has been able to create atmospheres that are unique to each of his projects and the quality of each has not suffered.  Nearly an hour of hypnotizing black metal is what Austere's debut full length album offers up to you and leaves your soul shivering and cold.  If you seek everlasting despair and a black metal induced coma of hopelessness then Austere will coldly embrace you within its ghastly tentacles and into the darkness you will be submerged.