Released: 2012, Art As Catharsis
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
THE LUNAR MARIA, the 2010 debut from Aussie doomsters Adrift for Days, was a love letter to doom metal fans everywhere. A musical orgy of drone, smoke, and Iommi fuzz , it’s the kind of album that captures all of the hallmarks that fans would expect to hear, but dosed with a degree of fresh creativity that’s sometimes absent with this kind of music. Listening to the album, you understand that these guys are fans themselves and as such take their craft seriously. So it should come as no surprise that the band’s sophomore effort, COME MIDNIGHT...continues to embody the band’s own passion for the genre, but what is (pleasantly) surprising is how the album bests its predecessor in just about every way.
What really lends to the success of COME MIDNIGHT… is that it doesn’t abandon groundwork already established, but rather it presents similar musical concepts with a greater degree of polish and maturity. Think of it like writing a term paper – THE LUNAR MARIA was the first draft; it was a thoughtful and well-crafted composition, but like any first draft, there’s always opportunity to tighten up your language, consolidate ideas, and generally improve upon the presentation and flow. COME MIDNIGHT…is the final draft that you’d submit to your professor for grading. Conceptually in line with the first draft, but in the end it’s a much, much better representation of what you were attempting to communicate.
Opening with the three-part movement “i. A Premonition ii. Void iii. The Aftermath”, Adrift for Days ascends into a turgid wall of feedback, gradually bleeding into Lachlan Dale’s graveled wail as he declares “SELF…IN...FLICTED…” As the tune slips from one act into the next, you’re presented with death rattle dirges, bombastic noise, and an invigorated sense of groove that lives somewhere between Clutch and Down, collectively (re)introducing the listener to Adrift for Days’ statement of purpose. And while it’s easy to convey a stifling sense of heaviness with brute force and fuzzy riffs, Adrift for Days achieves a level of cerebral heaviness with more subdued stoner jams like “House of Cards” and the trance like “The Stonebreaker.” But check out the 19-minute closer “Eyes Look Down from Above” which deftly blends these more subtle undertones with a paranoid, freakout crescendo. A moving piece of music to say the least…
For what it’s worth, the production on COME MIDNIGHT...sounds much more robust than its predecessor – particularly in the drum department, which in retrospect sounds frightfully weak and thin by comparison. Chalk it up to a bigger budget or just knowledge gained along the way, but the combination of a weightier mix and warmer guitar tones amps up the heavy factor on the album x 10. I also think it’s interesting how the cover art recalls THE LUNAR MARIA. On the first album, you’re approaching the forest with the glow of the moon emanating in the background. On COME MIDNIGHT…you’re at the heart of the woods, your body laying supine against the forest floor gazing up towards the magnificent glowing orb in the night sky. Or maybe it’s the moon staring back at you that's being referenced in “Eyes Look Down…”? The fact that my mind is even engaged with an album’s cover art in 2012 should speak volumes alone…
With only a pair of albums credited on their CV, Adrift for Days deliver a level of quality in their execution that other bands may not find during their entire career. COME MIDNIGHT…will no doubt make my short list of contenders for best doom record of the year (finally, Pallbearer has some competition), and justifiably so. A dark, heavy, and surprisingly moving 60+ minutes of sonic misery, COME MIDNIGHT… is another love letter to the world of doom. Check out the Art As Catharsis homepage for purchase info.