Have you ever wondered what depressive black metal would sound like if it weren’t black metal? No? Honestly, before I began listening to The Vomit Arsonist, neither had I. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just something that doesn’t cross the minds of most people. Luckily for us though, The Vomit Arsonist was one such person that did ask that question. And he has spent his entire discography trying to discover what depressive black metal would sound like if there wasn’t any metal involved. Meditations on Giving Up Completely is his latest work of “art” from the illustrious and infamous Malignant Records. This is an album that I’ve been waiting for since I started working with Malignant Records nearly a year ago. This is the match between label and artist that only comes around once every few years. An album so perfectly representative of what the label stands for that it transcends the label and grows to redefine what the label and the artist is capable of producing. It was a match made in Hell and the stars were finally right to release it upon the world. Meditations on Giving Up Completely is the album that will be able to answer all those questions that you never thought about until the question was asked.
The Vomit Arsonist is the mysterious giant that lives out in the hills, shrouded in decay, mists, and shadows. It’s spoken in reverence but also in fear. The project is an ever present reminder of just how dark and gloomy dark ambient can truly be. I set out on this journey to understand the giant, and hopefully not be consumed by the monster before I had a chance to discover what his secrets were.
Meditations on Giving Up Completely is not a flowery release, filled with metaphorical sounds that poetically represent something else. This is a straight forward album that strips away everything pretty and coherent. It’s blunt. It’s unkind, it’s dark and brooding and raw. The album is the sonic equivalent of a rusty knife. The noise of the album is truly noise, it’s disquieting and eerie. Each song starts off quietly and unobtrusively but after just a few moments the sound becomes a cacophony of dizzying and disorienting noise. There is so much noise in fact, that even though I said there is nothing poetic about the album, there has to be something it’s representative of. Even in the depths of the muck of death industrial there is a narrative. It’s often crueler and uglier than any other genre, but it’s there and it is worth trying to discern. This is an album where everything is unclear and out of focus yet we don’t need to see anything to know what we are facing. Reality is utterly clear here.
One of the most discernable noises, easiest to recognize at least, is the broken voices that appear on nearly every track. I’m left asking, though, whose voices are those? Are they the inner voices of despair, loneliness, and psychosis of the artist or are they representative of the listener, merely recreated by the artist to shove back in the faces of his listeners? Honestly, I haven’t figured out which is right, or at least closest to the mark, but I feel as though they could both easily be true. These voices are coming from the mind of someone, someone who knows complete and utter despair. With such a universal feeling, these voices could be anyone’s. They could be yours, they could be mine.
Meditations on Giving Up Completely, too, is about chaos and the void. Each person is born into chaos and that chaos, from the moment of their birth, is trying to consume them. Each day that chaos come closer. We long to be released from the chaos of life and seek the void, that thing from which chaos was born. We long for the release the void promises us. Can we find the place where the void merges with reality to escape the monster that is chaos?
Meditations on Giving Up Completely truly is black metal without the instruments. It has the same maliciousness, the same aggression and hatred that so defines depressive black metal yet The Vomit Arsonist does it all without the benefit of traditional sound. The Vomit Arsonist has tapped into the emotional buzz saw and recreated it using sounds familiar but distorted into a horrifyingly malignant creature. The Vomit Arsonist is Frankenstein and Meditations on Giving Up Completely is Frankenstein’s Monster. If you have ever thought about what despair could sound like, this is it. This is the album that all depressive black metal bands need to hear to understand exactly what they want to do. The Vomit Arsonist does not disappoint. The stakes have been raised.
Highlights: On Living, There’s Nothing Here, What’s Left
If you enjoyed this try: Gnawed, Steel Hook Prostheses, Concrete Mascara
- What’s Left
- It Never Ends
- On Living
- When The Last Flame Has Been Extinguished
- There Is Nothing Here
- Sick Over Trying
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