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Asystole – Siren to Blight

Siren to Blight
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 01 April 2023, 5:03 AM

From Bandcamp, “Led by guitarist extraordinaire Pat Hawkins (THAETAS, ABERRATED, NEEDLEPUSHER, KYRIOS) and bass virtuoso Kyle Linderman, New York's ASYSTOLE debut with an album of furious Death Metal that doesn't sacrifice atmosphere for technique. In the grooves of "Siren to Blight" there is an abundance of both, thanks to an articulated but fluid songwriting, brilliant and open to contamination.” The album has seven songs.

“Blanketed in Fire” is the first. The song is a chaotic salad if you will. Each instrument represents a different vegetable and although mixed thoroughly, they still stand apart. Heavy, dissonant tones abound, and the vocals are deadly. The Tech and Prog aspects of the band also come through. “Song of Subservient Bliss” is another deeply dissonant offering, and a bit slower, melding into a mesmerizing sound. Try to keep up with the guitar rhythms…they are all over the place and it is impossible. “Hollow Penance” follows another path that twists and turns through the magical forest with steps that seem to defy physics. Many of the vocals are just vile utterances.

“Sophist Paralysis” switches back and forth from a staccato pattern to legato tones. The vocals are almost rapped at some points in the song. Again, dissonant and chaotic tones are what come through strongest. “Privatio Malus” is another song that does not follow musical conventions. I’m still not sure on the second listen if this makes any sense to me, but as art, I can at least appreciate it. “Spirit Mother” closes the album. It is very muddy in the sense that it is so very hard to pull out a central theme or sound. In the case of conventional music, this is pretty far from center, although I have heard further.

One of the most difficult things about an album like this is trying to extract the “music” from the chaos. Odd timing meters, dissonant instruments, and an otherwise landscape of anarchy really makes this hard to do. The technical aspects of this album showcase the songwriting ability, but I do believe that atmosphere is sacrificed for technique. This was a great display of musicianship, that is for sure.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Blanketed in Flies
2. Song of Subservient Bliss
3. Hollow Penance
4. Respite
5. Sophist Paralysis
6. Privatio Malus
7. Spirit Mother
Pat Hawkins – Guitar
Kyle Linderman – Bass
James Applegate – Drums
John Dunn IV – Vocals
Record Label: I,Voidhanger Records


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