Ritual Productions – 22nd April 2016
The Poisoned Glass is the current musical venture of G. Stuart Dahlquist and Edgy59, formerly of Seattle doom metallers Burning Witch who called it a day in 1998. While former bandmates Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson have gone on to achieve world domination, Dahlquist and Edgy59 have maintained rather lower profiles. As such, The Poisoned Glass are unlikely to garner the kind of attention Sunn O))) receive, but this is no sleight on their output: 10 Swords is dark, heavy, textured, and immensely atmospheric.
The album begins sparse, stark and dark, with the six-and-a-half minute ‘Plume Veil’; a ringing drone hovers icily. Anguished vocals intonating impenetrable lyrics emerge amidst erratic percussion that hits like cracks of thunder, and bass notes that register the kind of vibrations that could cause mountains to crumble.
‘Toil and Trouble’ is an elegiac, spiritual piece, haunting in tone and vast in magnitude, its sepulchral tones rent by demonic howls of pain and extraneous crackles of surging noise which seemingly rise from the underworld.
It’s incredibly dark stuff that borders on the oppressive at times; drones and groans, rumbling piano chords echoing in empty rooms of crumbling castles. The vocal harmonies on ‘Verbatim’ are overtly rock in style, but set against a doomy bass trudge that’s as crushingly heavy as planets colliding.
CD bonus cut ‘The Still Air’ marks quite a departure from the rest of the album; it still features brooding, droning atmospherics, but is led by a soulful vocal acapella which is every bit as compelling as the cold noise that radiates from the other tracks.