AGLO – Into the Maze

Posted: 16 February 2023 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Gutter Prince Cabal – 16th February 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

There aren’t many guitar-based genres of music where one-man bands are particularly commonplace. Of course, I’m not talking about folk or acoustic-based music, but the kind of music where, on listening, you’d expect a full band. Industrial is something of an exception because early exponents like JG Thirlwell – aka Foetus – developed through the use of tape loops and studio experimentation, and the same is also true of later exponents like Nine Inch Nails, with Trent Reznor’s studio-based project evolving from being largely synthetic into a live proposition.

But black / death metal are genres unto themselves. One might joke that it’s because most of the people who make this kind of stuff have no mates or are too antisocial to form bands, although it may not be much of a joke. Either way, Melbourne-based Aaron Osborne is one of those one-man operations, handling all aspects of writing and playing to create the sound of several. And what a sound it is. If you want dark, dense, and sludgy, with bowel-loosening guttural vocals, then you’re in luck.

Into the Maze – a twenty-seven minute album – or mini-album – actually comprises two new songs plus four cuts previously released as the Collector EP.

You don’t listen to this stuff to be uplifted – but you do dive into it for escape, and Into the Maze brings that cathartic release.

The title track is monster slab of downtuned darkness. There are some guitar screeches which emerge from the relentless trudge that call to mind Fudge Tunnel, but this is denser, slower, doomier, and somehow less organic-feeling, like early Pitch Shifter but with live drums, and passing a nod to how they take ‘the swagger and groove of Entombed’s Wolverine Blues and infuse it with the tar-thick pull of doom’. But against Wolverine Blues, it’s half the pace and the lyrics are unintelligible grunts, so it’s very much an example of taking an influence and steering it in a different direction. And this is a good thing. The production is perfectly dingy and oppressive, and over the course of just short of half an hour it really grinds you down in just the way it should. In all, it’s pretty bloody brutal. I dig.

Oh, and that’s one hell of a logo.

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