Top 10 Albums of 2010, Number 10: Roareth, Acts I-VI

They played their first show on June 18, 2010 and their last on October 14. They were on The Obelisk‘s in-house record label The Maple Forum. They were a side project of members of Requin. They were an outlet for heavier tunes incompatible with Requin’s.

They brought the heavy. They brought it hard.

Acts I-VI is 45 minutes and 42 seconds, a single track, of lurching, patient sludge/ doom so heavy is has its own gravitational pull.

It takes its muhfuggin time going where it wants, when it wants, as it wants: clever, structurally-unique riffs periodically show up, level Tokyo, and recede again, leaving craters of spectral sonance and texture.

It opens with whispery, small-hours sounds that gradually become a whimpering woman, one clearly terrorized –it’s only slightly less disconcerting when it solidifies as Heather’s breakdown from The Blair Witch Project– and the instant that registers, a Grand Guignol detuned riff hammers down like a D minor version of the opening motif from Beethoven’s Fifth symphony.

The entire time remaining follows suit. It’s nearly perfectly tonally-consistent; nothing sounds out of place. When footsteps, crickets and a cello appear around 12 minutes in, they fit. Acts I-VI sounds arranged, planned, blueprinted. It’s a fascinating juxtaposition of the crude bludgeoning strength of this type of music that also has a masterful schematic.

It’s a rare blend of the fury of spontaneous performance, arranged for maximum impact: imagine the tribal rhythms of pagan ceremony charted by German and Japanese architects.

There are skeins of softly funereal, vaguely ecclesiastical melody throughout the acts: each time one started, it was distinct. There are themes and movements.

It’s this type of music done expertly with great style. (Roareth also have a distinct visual style, a minimalist, vaguely-haunted vibe that mirrors their music– see their photo, album cover and video for Act I, below.)

There’s a pensive, melancholy yet regal feel to the overall sound, like the Mourning of a king whose empire is somehow gone, his memories of it somehow dubious. A dignified sense of displacement and loss.

 

9/10

 

[It was only pressed as 100 digisleeve copies, which have since sold out (mine is #18), but it's still available for purchase digitally.]

Stream it

Buy it

Video for Act I

Myspace

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