An album? With only six tracks? Well, yes. With a running length in excess of fifty minutes, the number of tracks doesn’t count any more. Edinburgh-based sludge/doom maestros Of Spire & Throne very much provide value for money with their second release, Penance.
Straight up I have to say that Penance is not an easy listen, but it’s not meant to be. Thrusting together short, brutal riffs, slowly pounding drums and growled, indecipherable vocals this is an experimental project that… well, it experiments. It pushes the boundaries, which is exactly what experimenting is meant to do. For a self-financed effort it does well too, with surprisingly good production. The low, doomy tones are clear and devastating while the clean guitars that crop up slice through you.
This is a difficult album to review as it’s more of a piece that you need to experience rather than have described to you. It’s epic in scale and not something I’d listen to at a gig, for instance. I need my live tunes more immediate, but to throw on in the front room after the kids have gone to bed (or to drown them out when they’re arguing with each other about what to watch on YouTube) there couldn’t be anything better. Penance defines modern doom, and I mean that most sincerely. I defy you to find something currently on release that’s doomier in any respect.
It’s slow. It’s down-tuned to the point where Satan himself is wondering where the sound in the basement is coming from. And it’s very, very fucking disturbing.
Penance is out now.