OMNIBAEL – Rain Soaks the Earth Where They Lie

Posted: 1 February 2022 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , , ,

28th January 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

So I’ve been bigging up OMNIBAEL from the outset – not because I’m acquainted – that cuts no ice with me as a critic, and if I don’t dig the music, I’m not going to back it for anything – but because I really rate what they’re doing. And what they’re doing is… well, they’re not entirely sure. OMNIBAEL are on a voyage of discovery, and they’re inviting you – and me – and all of us – along for the ride. They have no idea where it’s headed or where it will end, and that’s a large part of the appeal. So much supposedly ‘experimental’ music is scripted and scored. Rain Soaks the Earth Where They Lie is an experiment within a long-term experiment.

Each release to date has been a document of an evolution, and their debut album roper is no exception. Twittering feedback gives way to ripping riffage that’s distorted to fuck on opener ‘Mind is a Mess’ that’s the gnarliest of black metal melted into the darkest pits of burning torture, a missive from a purgatorial inferno.

I may have written on this album elsewhere, including some abstract liner notes that capture its essence, but I haven’t previously reflected in detail on the listening experience. It’s not pleasant, but it is intense, and it is, in the same way as it is with listening to Uniform, or The Body, a full-on body slam. It’s not easy, it’s not comfortable, and it’s a physical experience – one that’s like taking a kicking from a gang. Drums hammer in like boots reining in on the ribcage, and there’s absolutely no fucking mercy across the album’s nine tracks.

The churning murk of the eight-plus minute ‘Last Days’ is pure Throbbing Gristle, and this is dark, gnarly, nasty. ‘The Repetition’ starts with a mess of overlayed tape loops that’s very much reminiscent of the Burroughs / Gysin tape loops that so influenced Cabaret Voltaire in the early days, and after a moment of crackling electronica that strays into Whitehouse / Merzbow territory, it plunges deep into torturous melting industrial metal, a dingy mess so dark and so charred as to be corrosive to the organs. It ccu88ulminates in punishing screeds of howling feedback atop thunderous percussion that hammers like thunder. There are some deeply fucked-up vocals low-down in the mix, too.

It’s not pleasant, and listening to this breeds tension upon tension, you feel your muscles tense and your head grow tight at the temples and the back of the cranium. If the dank and gloomy ethereal ambience of ‘Rung Keep’ evokes swimming underwater, it equally feels like the soundtrack to drowning slowly, and there really are no breaks on this album: despite its sonic and textural variety, it’s heavy all the way. ‘Sound of the WW2 Story’ may be a brief interlude with some soft ambience akin to the swafting of a jellyfish, but it’s still dense, tense, and oppressive, and offers but two minutes breathing before the thundering punishment of ‘Flowering backwards’, which callas to mind Swans circa 1986 and early Godflesh in dub form. The volume, the power, the force, all combine to create something utterly cruising.

Listening to Rain Soaks the Earth Where They Lie is hard. It’s a brutal nihilism I’ve been craving and welcome unreservedly; it articulates the fact that life is pain. But the pain is without letup. Rain Soaks the Earth Where They Lie is uncomfortable, painful, and very, very necessary.

Om

Comments
  1. […] but got to do so alongside some remarkable artists, notably Omnibael, who have featured a number of times here. Also on the bill was a performance so brief as to barely be an interlude, something I described as […]

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