Review Summary: The darkest album of the decade.
Despair ridden soundscapes and oppressive, densely layered atmospheres are what The Poisoned Glass' two members do best, both of whom have a shared history that includes past and present involvement in some of the most sonically terrifying acts in history, such as Burning Witch
, and Sunn O)))
. 10 Swords is a a 43 minute journey into a hypnotic aural abyss of dread that is seething with mystique and tension. It would be no simple task to eclipse the pure brooding, menacing evil that some of their past projects have conjured up, but this debut album from these veterans of vitriol stands alone in regards to its ability to instill persistent and real terror, as well as a sense of genuine paranoia in its listener.
10 Swords is the musical equivalent of being forced to descend a staircase into a pitch black darkness with only a flickering candle to light your path. Anticipation and claustrophobia hang heavy as you finish your treacherous descent only to be plunged headlong into a cavernous void where the deep, droning reverberations echo and ricochet off of the walls of a room to large to see the ends of. The tortured, wailed and howled vocals guide you aimlessly amid the blackness towards your impending doom, which you sense is inevitably looming towards the back of the mammoth, desolate cavern you now find yourself in. The candle you hold grows dim as hot wax dips over your hand, paranoia is now rampant within your mind the further you wander through the barren chasm, running out of light and unable to find your way out as you tread over the bones of past travelers that had met your same slow, inevitable demise. Trapped inside this suffocating, enthralling darkness you have no choice but to submit to your doom and become consumed by the impregnable darkness and fall prey to the monsters dwelling within it.
Thick, rumbling bass, piercing horror-flick synths, horrifying vocals and truckloads of emptiness are what the bulk of this album is comprised of. There is no cacophonous wall of sound, no overpowering instrumentation, just a threatening level of omnipresent darkness unlike anything else in existence. There are the occasional unsettling sounds of animals growling and snarling, some low notes pounded heavily on a piano, and a bit of bombastic percussion that sounds more like bombs than drums - but for the most part this record is just sustained tones of reverberating emptiness that leave the listener to their own devices to conjure up and fall victim to their own darkest fears in the hollows between the instrumentation. 10 Swords is downright unnerving and intensely potent with its mystical eeriness, it almost sounds like you're hearing something that shouldn't be heard, as if you cracked open the door to an alien, occult universe. This nightmarish composition is an instant modern masterpiece of the drone/noise genre, and the first of its kind in over a decade that can stand toe to toe with the likes of Khanate
in how raw and rattling of an atmosphere and tone is present. An album this harrowing and malevolent is truly a spectacle to behold, 10 Swords is an viciously dense, murky, and ominous record that poisons the mind into a state of true terror that intends to (and will) chill you to the marrow.
The Poisoned Glass have come through with the absolute darkest, most chilling album of the decade thus far, 10 Swords is a truly frightening experience that requires your full attention and focus to get the full effect - so I implore you to turn the lights off, put your headphones on, crank the volume and let yourself sink into their carefully crafted abyss and let it just absolutely pulverize you.
"Maximum volume yields maximum results."