Released: 2016, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
In some ways, Inverloch’s long overdue debut DISTANCE | COLLAPSED is an artifact of the past. Born out of the ashes of Disembowelment and their sole magnum opus TRANSCENDENCE INTO THE PERIPHERAL, the Aussie outfit is still doling out the same kind of domineering, no-frills death/doom today as they did in 20 years ago - slow, grinding, and growling like an angry mammoth on a Quaaludes and Red Bull cocktail. While it’s an outlet that tends to show its age, it’s still totally effective.
The 90’s were a wellspring for the early death/doom movement, birthing bands like Winter, Mythic, Sorrow, Thorr’s Hammer, and of course Disembowelment in the process. Some like November’s Doom, Morgion, and Mournful Congregation put their own spin on it and rode the wave longer than their predecessors, but for the most part the sub-genre has retained a fairly kvlt appeal. But in a recent interview with Decibel, guitarist Matthew Skarajew summed it up succinctly - “…what we do is write death-doom the only way we know how”. You can’t fault that kind of inspiration when it’s all you know.
Sight unseen (sound unheard?), the five tracks on DISTANCE | COLLAPSED could’ve been written in 1993 or 2016, but there’s no debate about their quality. Gut wrenchingly heavy with intentional diversions into melodic and/or esoteric excursions, it’s an exceptional example of how powerful this genre can be when it’s done correctly. Superficially oversimplified, serene moments like “From the Eventide Pool” tug at your heartstrings while “The Empyrean Torment” bottles up all of the bad feelings inside of you, douses them in gasoline, strikes the match, and then stomps the inferno with a jackboot. “Cataclysm of Lacuna” then takes its time digging the grave and unceremoniously kicking the charred corpse into its untimely repose. Melody + Hostility - Speed = Excellence.
DISTANCE | COLLAPSED will take several listens to fully appreciate, but it’s worth it. With each spin, I hear something new or feel something different. Inverloch will never fully shake the ghosts of its past, but when it sounds as good as this, why would you want to?