“Prolific” is a term that gets thrown around a lot in music writing but it’s fair to say that Everson Poe, the solo project of Mae Shults, warrants the term. New record Grief was recorded last year, making it the fifth album Shults created that year. Crucially, Shults’ music has a tendency to shift between genres, keeping listeners on their toes whilst ensuring that each record has its own distinct character. Grief in particular uses blackened sludge as well as moments of funeral doom and post-metal to add to both the expansive atmosphere of the music and the grave nature of the record’s narrative.
Taking inspiration from Catafalque’s ‘His Torment Will Never End’ and its use of samples from The Exorcist III, Shults composed closer ‘Acceptance’, which then formed the basis of a concept exploring spirituality and the ways in which religious dogma is twisted, and used to justify inflicting suffering upon others. The album follows the story of a devout Christian turned serial killer who believes it is his holy duty to rid the world of blasphemers who are possessed by demons or practising witchcraft. Eventually, his crimes lead him to question his own faith, and the revelation that there is no god to even witness, much less rejoice in, these supposed acts of veneration.
In addition to her own guttural shrieks, Shults employs the use of samples – preachers denouncing witchcraft, an Aleister Crowley ceremony and interviews with and about mass murderers such as Richard Speck and Ed Kemper – to further this theme and ensure it sits at the forefront of the album. It makes for one hell of a powerful listen, pulling you into the macabre themes and refusing to relent until you’ve heard what it has to say.
This phenomenal record drops this Friday but can be heard in its entirety below. Give it a listen before heading over to the Bandcamp page to pick up a copy of your own.
Grief is out 2nd April via Trepanation Recordings. Order here.
Words: George Parr