Septic Mind - _Rab_
(Solitude Productions, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
Every couple of years or so, Septic Mind drop another sonic A-bomb upon the unsuspecting audience. Why unsuspecting? Because every release by Septic Mind (_Rab_ being their third studio album) reveals a totally different face of this band; not a continuation nor an evolution, but rather a birth, as if an altogether new entity is born ad hoc with each new release, providing us with something we were not expecting; a new sensation, a new aesthetic, a new face.

Septic Mind went a long way from their debut opus dating to 2010, adequately dubbed simply as _Beginning_, to this, their third effort, called _Rab_ (Russian for "Slave"). Through their short history, the band went from monstrous doom/death that had been occasionally compared to Esoteric's brand of doom; to a nihilistic, industrialized, alienating kind of doom captured on the band's sophomore, _True Call_ -- where hardcore-oriented elements were introduced and everything took a formless shape, or shapeless form, and you couldn't really make up your mind what this elusive album was all about, but you knew it had the power and rage to move mountains and the bleakness of a disease, a very nasty disease.

Enter end of 2014 and we see yet another phase this Russian group is going through; a resurrection, a transfiguration, a new beginning. The only progression you could clearly notice, when listening to Septic Mind's discography carefully enough, is that with each album they raise the bar of the aforementioned bleakness factor. This band can aurally portray desolation and soundscapes that transcend mortal flesh better than most bands out there. But they do it cleverly. Like here, with those advanced guitar lines that can fool anybody into thinking this album is a post-rockish, post-hardcorish recording associated with Slow Burn Records, a branch of Solitude Productions specializing in anything and everything post-metal, such as EndName and the likes.

But make no mistake! _Rab_ is as virile and crass and crushing as the band's previous efforts, probably even more so; it only mildly and patiently discloses those attributes, suspends them until they are being released in measured quantities and become weapons of bodily harm and the destroyers of the soul, for Septic Mind have now managed to offer their coldest, bleakest, most profound album to date, fusing gorgeous clean guitar lines with something more sinister and foreboding that lurks behind those quasi-joyous, almost psychedelic melodies. When the clash between aesthetics occur -- the life-affirming, post/progressive rock psychedelia and the nocturnal, abysmal, harrowing sledgehammer frequencies of the album's dark and doom-laden elements -- the magic happens.

The lead guitar sounds always clean, usually high in pitch, having an effect that obliterates almost every trace of the good old metallic distortion, while the rhythm guitar (as well as the whole rhythm section) plays a selected number of riffs repeating themselves over and over again in kind of robotic, lifeless, repetitive manner that renders the music bleak and cold due to the contrasting elements. What could have sounded dark, sounds even darker when superimposed on the mild and delicate framework made by the obviously alien elements the band use. It's a matter of contrast, again, and Septic Mind know how to exploit that clash of musical aesthetics to the fullest. Separate the two, each of the musical paths here should be valid in itself and is well crafted. Combine the two together, and you get a synergy from hell, a dissonance of extremities that works wonderfully on various levels.

_Rab_ makes for a fascinating listening experience; its excellence unfolds slowly yet surely, and it really takes some time to absorb the modus operandi the band have chosen to take here. It's not the most complex album you'll listen to, nor the most original or innovative, but this is how the Russians maneuver: they offer you something that is both familiar and strange, even uncanny; new and exciting experiences for the senses unleashed on rather much traveled roads.

Take this album for an excursion of your own; it's a trip well worth your time and money. Fans of the band's previous efforts, as well as of Esoteric and Mindrot's timeless masterpiece _Dawning_, and probably also those who enjoy Abstract Spirit, will highly appreciate _Rab_.


(article published 29/12/2014)

7/29/2012 C Drishner 8 Septic Mind - The True Call
3/28/2011 C Drishner 8 Septic Mind - Beginning
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