Review Summary: Far off noise, outside an airlock...in a galaxy far, far away.
Hailing from Melbourne Australia, a location better known for its dining experiences (and being a bit of a mecca for some of the country’s more prominent sporting teams probably) comes Plasmodium. Penned online as an amalgamation between black, death and psychedelic metal, Plasmodium’s sonic reach is somewhat a bastard love-child of the three subgenres mentioned above while warping their brand of music into the vast cosmic reaches of space. The group’s sophomore, Towers Of Silence
certainly fits into the above avant niche, but lacks the ample breathing space (pun not intended here) to bring more listeners into their expressive, yet all encompassing soundscapes. It’s this feeling of oppression, of over-indulgence in the band’s sound that allows them to reach orbit, fly around the moon a few times, but fails to achieve a perfect touch down on let’s say...Mars.
Yeah, this review is getting away from me a bit.
“Paramantra” provides some immediacy to the band’s numerous genre tags. The spacey, yet flamboyant tropes of a dissonant death metal band are on full display, coupled with furious musicianship and intensity of a modern day black metal act. These shorter introductory tracks blast into the listeners’ subconscious paving a way for the longer, more transitory compositions to flesh out the album’s larger cosmic themes. The appropriately titled “Churning” is a whirring, frantic race down a hill, accented by the snarls of a madman. Hyperbole? Not really. The track itself caters to its atmospherics without skipping a frenzied note. It’s here that Towers Of Silence
launches fully into its more progressive back half and yet, the album carries itself well into a horror fed cosmos.
“Translucinophobia” is just as winding. At eighteen and a half minutes, it’s by far the longest track on the record, but the musical veracity runs into problems. Namely the album’s larger brick-walling production doesn’t hold up to the twittering of feedback, bells and clipped sound effects. Largely, parts of the track itself become compressed as hell during the near-twenty minute play time. All the ideas are here and given enough room to breathe, but as interesting as Plasmodium’s distinct avant brand of death metal is, elements become quashed, before turning into a chore of sorts. Because of this “Translucinophobia” is a mind bending, wall breaking track but misses out on ensnaring the listener completely.
I don’t want to be the naysayer in the room. Towers Of Silence
, hell, parts of Plasmodium’s 2021 piece are great—but mission control may have helped land this baby on its feet, particularly in regards to the far away mixing the album received. As frantic as Matt Sanders’ well placed drum chops are, a lot of the record sounds like it was recorded down a hallway, with a door firmly shut. Maybe this was the point? Without making assumptions of what a band wants out of a particular musical direction
the cosmic wrappings that Towers Of Silence
is made could be compared to similes of airlocks, suffocating atmospheres and no one care hear you screams
. Still, there’s a lot to take in within Towers Of Silence
’s forty-eight minute run time. Of course this is all up in the air for your average listener looking for sultry combinations of technical ability, black metal tropes and a solid atmosphere.
The sum of Plasmodium’s parts are realized one way or another in the form of the band’s sophomore. Yes, they set out to make an expressive listen, warped by its sense of avant death meets black metal. For all its kinks, Towers Of Silence
is the cosmic listen that encapsulates a direct niche of atmosphere and brutal cosmism. The usual disclaimer applies of course: this won’t appeal to everyone, even those with a penchant for expressive, explorative death metal may find parts (or all) of this hard to swallow. Still, it’s hard not to respect a group that follows their own direction to dizzying heights—silent towers
, stars or no.