Black Shape Of Nexus – Carrier

Posted: 2 March 2016 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , ,

Exile on Mainstream – 18th March 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

‘The only constant is the blackness of the shape. Everything else, including the shape itself, is in a constant state of flux for Black Shape Of Nexus.’ So begins the press release. If it sounds like preposterous hyperbole with a hefty hint of pretention, then think again: it doesn’t even begin to convey the enormity of this dark, dense work which on the surface confirms to all of the conventions of droney doomy stoner sludge metal, but in fact breaks every last one. The imagination of Carrier is astounding.

To get down to brass tacks, there’s heavy, and then there’s HEAVY. And then there’s this, which is all shades of heavy, and more. As the press blurb implies, Black Shape of Nexus are not a band to align themselves or define themselves as any one fixed thing. Never mind the full sprawl of their output, which occupies four previous releases, Carrier could provoke lengthy and heated debates over which section it should be located in at the local record store (if such a thing still existed. But imagine High Fidelity set in a shop devoted to all things alternative, rock and metal. The conversations would run for pages). And that’s cool.

It’s also cool that Black Shape step up and slap a political disclaimer on the front page of their website. They shouldn’t have to, but kudos to them for making it clear that they’re principled about the people they want as their fan-base. The message reads, ‘Note: There are some doom/drone bands out there sympathizing with fascist/racist “views” – we want to make it as clear as possible, that we strongly disagree with such opinions.
B·SON is anti fascist and anti sexist. Thank you for paying attention! Got that? WE’RE ANTIFASCIST YOU NAZI FUCKS!!! EAT SHIT!!!’

It’s depressing that we do live in a world where extreme right views are rife, not only in countercultural circles, but have become almost accepted in corners of mainstream politics. But at least we can be sure that Black Shape are among the good guys, and not just musically. Although, you could argue that musically, they’re the band guys, ‘cause Carrier is creaking under the interminable weight of the devil’s tunes.

(Shape)shifting between styles, ‘Carrier’ explores various manifestations of heaviosity If the idea of a light, vaguely jazzy break for a few bars in the middle of a seven-minute trudge through the most devastatingly cataclysmic doom seems not so much incongruous as eye-bulging crazy, then you’ll be in even more of a spin to learn that it actually works. Yes, opener ‘I Can’t Lift It’ is a belter, and sets the bar high.

The guitars are backed off – and barely present – on the dark ambient pulsations which occupy the first half of ‘Lift Yourself’, before ripping into a dingy crust-punk thrashabout. If you’re struggling to keep up already, quit now: the Melvins to Sabbath sludge of ‘Sand Mountain’ threatens to collapse under the weight of its own riffage before ‘Facepunch Transport Layer’ lunges in to bring a psychedelic twist to the pulverising chug.

It all comes to a colossal, gut-churning head on the mangled doom of ‘Triumph of Death’: 12 minutes of relentless metal. Transitioning from slow-paced doom and cranking up the tempo and the brute force to build to a driving riff, it drives the album home

It’s punishing, but in the best possible way.

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Black Shape of Nexus Online

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