Released: 2014, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
While MASS & VOLUME may not necessarily be a new release, chances are it’ll be new to a fair amount of you reading this. Written and recorded during the last day of the PHANTOM LIMB sessions, the EP was originally released as a limited, digital-only single last spring, with all proceeds being donated to a college fund for the daughter of late Relapse Records staffer Pat Egan (to whom the recordings were also dedicated). After garnering high marks over the last year through word of mouth, Relapse is now releasing MASS & VOLUME on CD and limited edition vinyl formats. Oh yeah, it’s a doom record too, and a decent one at that.
More Sunn O))) than Candlemass, MASS & VOLUME won’t sound like a complete left turn if you’re familiar with the NATASHA EP from a while back. And even if you’re not, it’s still got that same degree of aural abrasiveness that you’ve come to know and love from Pig Destroyer, only...much…sslllllooooowwweeerrrrrr. The 19-minute title track is full on drone, with prolonged stretches of feedback and resonating guitar punches amidst spatters of percussion and demon like growls. Yes, it’s a complete sonic 180, but it still manages to sound distinctively like a Pig Destroyer track. “Red Tar” by comparison is much less advantageous; a slightly more up-tempo sludge jam that gets the job done, but isn’t nearly as potent.
MASS & VOLUME is an interesting experiment for the band. Truth be told, I’d be curious to hear a full album’s worth of material more in line with the title track to see just how far they could push their boundaries. At the end of the day though, it’s a niche release that will primarily appeal to the hardcore Pig Destroyer fan, but should also sit well with fans of Sunn O))), Encoffination, and Khanate. MASS & VOLUME is now available in all formats through Relapse Records.