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Indian - The Unquiet Sky

Indian - The Unquiet Sky
By Mark Hensch

It finally hit me after spinning this CD for probably the thousandth time; I've been spinning it a minimum of two times daily, for almost two weeks without fail. What hit me is this; first, this album title is perfect. Second, this album is beyond any foolish reviewer to even attempt scrutiny.

The Unquiet Sky is a perfect moniker for this doom masterpiece as the metal on here is so vast, so broad, so infinite, it is like the entire atmosphere of Earth stretching well beyond the horizons. Throughout this (almost) hour long nuclear winter, a buzzing pestilence assaults the listener at every turn. How has Indian managed to perfect a vibe so sinister, so evil, that it dogs one at every step? Like being closely followed by some dark presence just beyond your reach, The Unquiet Sky is a record both personal and completely removed. Listening is like having amnesia, then coming out of it right as the people you harmed in your previous life (and you know you would, you bastards!) are about to torture you endlessly for your wrongs. There's no salvation in sight on this disc, but it is never clear what you should be fleeing. Thus, the reason why this disc is beyond any one critic, myself included. How can you rate the unknowable? Though I intend to carry on the remainder of this review as I would normally (song-by-song analysis, some poignant closing thoughts perhaps) there will be NO final rating for this album. I feel this is such a momentous album mere things like percentages and ratings are beyond it; to listen to this is to understand what the doom genre has been trying to achieve for ages. Yes, you read that right. I think this is the epitome of doom metal folks.

The disc begins with massive understatement. The first track, "No Able Fires" bored me a lot the first time I heard it, but the reason was simple ignorance. The song mixes ambient roars with buzzing distortion scratches on guitar, slowly ebbing and flowing. The dam breaks in a deluge of catharsis on "Ration." Ominous and mammoth, those noisy whistles and bells are still here, giving the song's now pounding riff (a meatier version of the previous song's) an oddly celestial feel. The song swings with crashing aplomb, producing some of the catchiest, most focused doom that have ever crossed my ears. The main surprise is the addition of vocals; frontman and guitarist Dylan O'Toole is possessed by Satan, and nothing less than that. The man spits forth ichor-black bile; coughing up chunks like a dying Ebola Virus victim, O'Toole has some of the most diabolical screeches I've heard. The icing on the cake is a mid-tempo steamrolling when the band speeds up and drops several sonic tons upon your unsuspecting eardrums. The short but sweet "Dead Weight" careens like two steam-engines colliding with one another....under the largest tidal wave in Earth's history. 

"Los Nietos" is the sound of war machines grinding to war. This is the first song that really clicked for me on this disc; the thrum of sheer malice this song conveys sounds like an evil version of the Melvins. Wow. About this time, one also realizes drummer Brian Lynn is phenomenal, and drums in some truly insane patterns not normally present in doom bands. The utterly roasted by the abyss cavern churnings of "Queen" should unnerve even the staunchest of listeners, and its galloping follow-up "Tied and Gagged" is a jackhammer cacophony that batters everything in its path to glistening goo. The brief instrumental "God of Panic, Lord of Decay" is just down-and-dirty riff slapping, and what comes next none will suspect. The completely psychotic derangement of "Loophole Noose" is quite simply the most horrifying doom song ever. Even noise bands I've covered (Prurient comes to mind) cannot hold a candle to this anomaly. Slowly oozing forth cryptic rumbles and growls via the medium of eerie, psychedelic distortion, the song lures you into a false sense of numb acceptance. It is at this low point of nihilism the most crushing drone/doom riffery ever comes and shatters all the matter; this song hits you so hard your atom's quarks will be in f***ing pieces. The brutal kick to the corpse that is "Shill" sounds like Mastodon brawling with Khanate on Jupiter, where everything is just heavier because of all that mass. "We Can Build You" is a submissive belch or two coming forth from the Earth, and oddly enough the only peaceful moment of reprieve this CD offers. The closing "Worshipper of Sores" is insult to injury, or basically more dismemberment. This CD is total cataclysm. 

Once an hour of pressure akin to iron weight pressing torture has been enacted, one is left feeling bewildered and a little scared. Indian have generated such a monolithic obelisk of crushing, bleak doom that it can and must inspire nothing but fervent worship. To be honest, I loathed this album at first, not being able to wrap my head around it after only a listen or two. With the passage of time and intense scrutiny, I think that The Unquiet Sky could very well be a sleeper masterpiece in the doom scene. Massive, vast, and innovative beyond comprehension, this disc is either one of the most punishing records ever or simply one of the most unlistenable. I can't be the judge dear readers, this one rests on you. Check it out!

1. No Able Fires
2. Rations
3. Dead Weight
4. Los Nietos
5. Queen
6. Tied and Gagged
7. God of Panic, Lord of Decay
8. Loophole Noose
9. Shill
10. We Can Build You
11. Worshipper of Sores

Rating: Beyond general ratings! This disc must speak for itself! (beyond five stars? well below it? This disc truly runs the gamut of human emotion)


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