PLOUGHSHARE – Ingested Burial Ground (2022)REVIEW

The lantern no longer swings within them. Forlorn eyed and wrenching in seat they clutch distended bowels in gather of gaseous bulging, a brief pang of control achieved before settling into septic trauma. The body’s unbearable leaking peeks its hideous coloration beneath bandaged folds, a sign of the fasciae and flesh letting go. In sight and reek of necrotizing tissue the mentality of an entirely sickened existence sinks all survival instinct down toward traumatic resignation. With all gateways to humanity bunged, breached or befouled with bacterial corrosion the mania of the mind reaches peak torsion as these Canberra, Australia-based psychopomp carry away the still-departing, dead-eyed plague angel to dissect the essence of the results twofold. Ploughshare, a quadratic ghoul-clan in capture of a very specific fusion of putrescence and survivance (per Derrida‘s definition) have long manifested a sickening phantasma of living death for the mind to explore yet they are today no longer willing to wait for the steadying gradation of their noxious reap. Their latest double mLP, ‘Ingested Burial Ground‘, sweeps away the pains of growth and tears apart their intrauterine abomination’s shell and begins clipping tech, cybernetic transcendental apparatus, onto its thrashing corpse for the sake of something unheard of. The results are irreverent, surrealistic, and challenge any reasonable definition lobbed their way.

None of this should be deeply surprising if you’d already been in the know, though, as the precedence for a more daring permutation beyond avant-garde black/death metal had been set just beyond Ploughshare‘s debut mLP (‘Literature of Piss‘, 2017) which’d been a stoic monument albeit one from fellowes more interested in provocateur art, heresies of uneven duality that’d experiment with noisome soundscapes and anxietous and occasionally strident black metal guitar work. I could compare their sound to many things but ‘In Offal, Salvation‘ (2018) still speaks for itself in outrageous tongues, having broken away from the core notion as soon as it’d formed. Built, shattered, and rebuilt it’d been been taxing education for the troupe and an experience which’d left them in limbo long enough to have made an evolutionary leap within a bubble, so to speak. The three quarter step into the next portal was an mLP (‘Tellurian Insurgency‘, 2019) which left behind the disso-black/death erosion with two of their most accomplished pieces and tore into a new portal with a re-mix from Andrew Nolan (Intensive Care, The Endless Blockade). It wasn’t filler eh, but instead an omen of what’d arrived on ‘Ingested Burial Ground‘, an EP’s worth of admirably original work on Side A and remixes of all five songs on Side B.

Ingested Burial Ground‘ reads as a somewhat nuclear reactive solution to pigeonholing, at least in the sense that Ploughshare‘d already been producing a quantifiable, nameable form of avant-garde metal music. I’d more-or-less swept pastTellurian Insurgency‘ back in 2019, even. Though it’d been excellent work it all lands as a complete confinement of possibilities in hindsight, a linear and decided-upon thing which could only hope to be interpreted as outrageous as it’d intended to be. Art should be representative, daring, or at least interesting enough for the crew performing it in practicum and I figure a lack of most direct confrontation within their work was the core catalyst for change. Or, sure, maybe they just wanted to fuck around with some ideas after playing shows with groups like The Body and knew they were capable. The result is cohesive, finely detailed, and surprisingly substantive despite how brief the core group of songs end up being.

An undisclosed novel influences the dream sequence Ploughshare‘s undisclosed membership have conceived within these five pieces which’ve been self-recorded under assumedly irregular circumstances to feed an indeterminate result. Interest in general noise modulation, power electronics and general post-industrial musing feed into their introductory moments but with an already decisive bent as “A Horrible and Terrifying Impression” sinks in briefly. I’m not saying they’ve become a witch house crew just yet but if you’re a fan of Oranssi Pazuzu and maybe more recent Damien Dubrovnik the surreal space rock pulse and ominous vocals which feature on standout “The Cold Horror is Clear” you’ll likely get the vibe quick. Ignis Fatuus (Portal, Grave Upheaval, et al.) remix of this piece on the flipside manages one of the more grotesque transformations by eliminating the comfortable direction of the bassline. “Divulging Bees, Spiders and Scorpions” finds a similar balance of light and shadow but this time with an odd sort of deconstructed electro-deathcore out of body feature that eventually gives way to a far distantly glittering post-hardcore reprieve, again helped along by the shove of its basslines. Again, the Xeno Chemist remix of this piece eliminates the blissful electro-satiety of the piece and melts it down to carbonized horror.

The mortifying immerse of it all, easing overhead. — Having completely lost perspective that this was an experimental extreme metal band prior to this release at this point in the full listen it didn’t initially register that ‘Ingested Burial Ground‘ was an outrageous event ’til I’d sat with it a few times and picked through the remixes. My first note taken was that the first five tracks didn’t feel like they’d entirely pushed the envelope as much as their cutting crew had. “An Uneasy Dread Rose” is perhaps the one piece where both the original and the remix were equally outrageous. The bounding bass-driven eerie that Ploughshare‘s piece reprises is little more than a presage to the horrified blasts, vocal terror (one of the voices is the fellow from Whitehorse/Sweat Lung) and sheets of scraping noise which it builds up toward quickly yet the gloom-stricken dissolution of sanity that it creates almost pales in direct compare with Alex Macfarlane‘s (Faceless Burial) dreary, hallucinatory crack at it. The major point to be made on my part is that the remixes were almost too effective in extended a darker vibe whereas the mLP itself is nuanced, balancing the grotesque with the beautiful in a way that still bears the handwriting of Ploughshare.

If I’ve gone on about ‘Ingested Burial Ground‘ this much, at this point we can at least agree that Ploughshare have concocted a paradigm shift well-worth considering. A finely made set of grooving electro-painscapes brimming with repeatable and gratifying textures enough to challenge the curious avant-black/death metal fan who’d have no reservations venturing into the world of dark electronic music all the same. From my point of view the “living death” of their impetus survives in a somewhat more original conception, an upturned world of based grooves where the only real measure of success quantifiable is the fact that it didn’t leave me pining for their former extreme metal self. A moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (77/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
ARTIST:PLOUGHSHARE
TITLE:Ingested Burial Ground
LABEL(S):Brilliant Emperor Records
RELEASE DATE:December 8th, 2022

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