Sightless Pit / Grave Of A Dog – a surreal and visceral sensory violation

2019 saw staggering releases from Full of Hell, Lingua Ignota, and The Body. Whilst Weeping Choir and Caligula both received critical acclaim, The Body’s collaborative EPs showcased their continuing push beyond the boundaries of expectation. The onset of 2020 saw the announcement of Sightless Pit, a mind-bendingly insane collaboration between members from all three outfits. Although The Body and Full of Hell are very much used to collaborating with a slew of artists, this is an incredible combination of burgeoning musical talent even for these veterans of group work.

The result here is Sightless Pit’s Grave Of A Dog, and they make Author & Punisher look like a pedestrian walk in the park on a sunny day with the squirrels scurrying about in their merry little way. To be absolutely clear that is no knock on A&P, as he is one of the most talented and progressive industrial doom artists in the metal scene today. The soundscape that churns forth on Grave of a Dog is just so incredibly surreal and visceral, it’s like listening to a Zdzisław Beksiński painting come alive. There are few words to describe what in the holy hell you are listening to but it is like a beautiful poison that draws from so many genres that it becomes a glorious journey of finding out where it goes next. Kristin Hayter’s vocals ebb and flow in and out of noise ridden brutality and lyrical grace. The instrumental experimentation, notably on ‘Whom The Devil Sought to Strangle’, offer electronic walls of utter sensory violation that blister the mind. It is a testament to where experimentation can go with not only the sonically heavier genres of music, but also contemporary art music as a whole. 

There are many composers and artists that come to mind who have bent the concept of genre specificity completely out of time and space. Sarah Kirkland Snider immediately comes to mind with her work Unremembered, as well as the oeuvre of Diamanda Galás. Going back farther you have Henry Cow, Pierre Henri, and Throbbing Gristle. Sightless Pit’s Grave Of A Dog may not be an impetus or epicentre of change in the blurring of genres lines, but it is a defining moment in the trajectory of music. To view as anything less than a masterful collaboration and culmination musical exploration is a disservice to the work the group put together with such ferocity and delicacy. The final track on the release ‘Love Is Dead, All Love Is Dead’ is gorgeous statement that echoes the concept of traditional love being dead, and from this destruction and hopelessness beauty can still exist. 

Grave Of A Dog is released 21st February via Thrill Jockey Records and can be purchased here.

Words: Garrett Tanner

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