Review Summary: Sparse yet effective, "Dweller on the Theshold" is bizarre in its painful normalcy, yet confounding in its creative execution.
For fans of Enemies List Home Recordings, another new release means the advent of a new off kilter and lo-fi extravaganza. Enemies List knows its strengths just as much as it knows its dedicated fan base, thus releases such as Dweller on the Threshold’s self-titled debut find themselves nice little niches and welcoming arms. Said album in particular has been hyped up by the label to the extreme, with updates and snippets being dropped consistently over the last few months, all to fan the fires of anticipation. Well, Dweller on the Threshold
has been released, and it’s safe to say that the Dan Barrett’s high hopes have been met.
The album is largely acoustic, performed in an almost singer/songwriter style. Instead of a lonesome man singing with his guitar, Dweller on the Threshold
actually features a lot of electric instruments as well. Everything is wrapped up in a nice, lo-fi haze that gives it a very distinct sound. Dweller on the Threshold’s self-titled debut is typical fare for a niche that is largely atypical. It’s most easily likened to 2011’s Giles Corey
, a lonely and haunting album whose lo-fi atmosphere gave off a very hollow vibe. Dweller on the Threshold
is similar, yes, but happens to be a beast all its own. It is a much more dynamic affair, with explosive percussion and guitar mixed with tons of reverb and chaos. Yet this is only a small part of a rather discombobulated whole. Moments of absolute serenity are intermingled with moments of spontaneous anger and discontent. The transition between “The Woods: Electric” and “Crumbling House” is a shining example of this, as the former is a languid acoustic piece the meanders about, only for the calm to be disrupted when the almost “hardcore” “Crumbling House” enters. But these moments are simply wonderful as the album is always throwing around new ideas to see how they work, and thankfully, most of them go off without a hitch.
The odd mixture of styles is what makes the album such an exciting experience. Everything from the crazy unpredictability to the stunning beauty culminates in the absolutely phenomenal “The Drone.” The song begins much the same way as many of the others, with the light strumming of the guitar and the subtle and distant vocals. Yet there is a solemnity about it that gives it much more emotional weight than the other tracks. The first half is gloomy and slow, but things are later turned on their heads when the song erupts in a beautiful and cathartic climax. It is a breathtaking moment, and without a doubt the album’s most profound.
Dweller on the Threshold
truly stands tall next to its labels finest. The album manages to be the best thing Enemies List has churned out since Giles Corey
, which in turn was the absolute greatest since 2008’s incredible Deathconciousness
. Needless to say, that is some mighty fine company to keep, and the album doesn’t buckle under their looming shadows. Dweller on the Threshold
is a marvelous piece of beautiful music that captures many different tones and atmospheres into one excellently produced package.