A mere two years since their last full length release Hopes of Failure, Iowan trio Aseethe return with Throes, a monstrous and memorable slab of atmospheric and lyrically astute doom, tackling pertinent issues such as climate change and the worrying rise of the far right.
Opener and title track ‘Throes’ sets the tone for the album perfectly. Beginning with a malevolent arpeggio accompanied by thundering toms and a bruising bass line (courtesy of new bassist/vocalist Noah Koester) it builds gradually over several minutes, like a threatening storm gathering pace. It isn’t long before all hell breaks loose too as the vocals emerge with a guttural and commanding urgency. Despite its steady tempo, the track never sags – it marches on with determination and aplomb, drawing the listener further in. Similarly, ‘To Victory’ opens with gentle, opened picked chords and subtle percussion before unfurling into crushing riffs and impassioned vocals that implore “ well we’re at it again, too focused to blame, too tired to beg, so scared for the win”.
There is a notable progression in songwriting since their previous album Hopes Of Failure, with added guitar flourishes and subtle hooks peppered throughout the albums tracks, bringing a new layer to their sound. Coupled with this is an increase in atmosphere and texture, the instrumental ‘Suffocating Burden’ being a perfect example. A claustrophobic and menacing hum of a track filled with eerie noises and feedback, it offers the album somewhat of a reprieve after the two colossal tracks that precede it.
‘No Realm’, however, is the albums standout track. Beginning with a swaggering groove and earworm of a guitar lick, once again hardcore style vocals spit out venomous lyrics, imploring “Society’s grasp growing thin, vermin swell” taking aim at the far right groups and leaders that are on the rise in western society. With more than a nod to sludge masters Thou this is as immediate as doom gets and will have your head well and truly banging.
With a sense of urgency, a newfound depth to their already towering sound and with blunt, angry lyrics, Aseethe have undoubtedly produced one of the must have doom albums of the year. Furthermore, Throes may just be the the strongest work the band have produced thus far.
Throes is out 17th May via Thrill Jockey Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Adam Pegg