Subduer – Death Monolith (2018) REVIEW

Obscured by echoing terrorist frequencies and hammered with ‘power electronic’ levels of crackling noisome hell, Black Forest adjacent alarmists Subduer wrestle sanity away with hardcore hammered war metallic aggression on their debut EP. The aggression felt on the buzzing, horrendous noise of ‘Death Monolith’ is almost entirely aimed at the foul curse upon civilization that is monotheistic religion and the deplorable culture that it creates. Intentional in it’s extreme low fidelity abrasion Subduer‘s debut is immediately as hallucinatory as it is offensive as a listening experience. A blur of echoes follow every spoken/shouted word, overblown bass tones clash with woefully overdriven guitar noise and feedback all while a seemingly aimless hailstorm of war metal drumming buries everything in a mess of clattering horror.

One could only intentionally make this sort of noisome spectacle and therein lies the ‘art’ and the sheer repugnance of it. It’s conception gives the impression of lack of funds, lack of knowledge, a lack of professionalism and this is genius in the sense that it isn’t haphazard and random so much as the sound creates listener disorientation and disgust. The bones of Subduer‘s compositions are structurally sound hardcore-driven riffing with the aplomb and surety of an early Beherit demo, yet by blurring the edges with recording tricks and post-production it seems all the more savage and off-the-cuff than it would as a plainly standardized war metal/powerviolence recording. “Execution Ritual” is perhaps both the most inspired high and irritating low of the EP contained in one piece. It’s powerful war metal statement has the electric clarity and freely hellish riffing that the genre thrives on yet at the mid-point cranked spoken sections invoke the most unholy peaks of harsh noise tapes and efficiently devour the aspirational metal that preceded it.

That seems to be the point, though, a complete subversion of the listener a redirection using expectational desecration to wrestle the listener’s mind into fuming defeat with the furor of terrorist propaganda droning in repetition. The thrill of unpleasant music amidst the hapless seas of so many thousands of musicians toiling away tirelessly to create a mental refuge, a pleasance to escape to, is not lost upon me. As open-minded as I can muster, I still can’t help but shrink away from Subduer‘s skull-cracking attack. No matter what volume you play ‘Death Monolith’ at it will still oppress you, irritate and upset your sensibilities as a listener and I have to give Subduer credit for zeroing in on the recesses of my mind that try desperately to shrink away from pain and forcing me to feel something unpleasant. An absolute horror.


Artist Subduer
Type EP
Released May 1, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Dunkelheit Produktionen’s Bandcamp! Follow Subduer on Facebook
Genres War Metal, Harsh Noise, Power Electronics

Propagandizing the endless thrill of torment. 3.0/5.0

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