Black Earth – Gnarled Rituals of Self Annihilation

Band: Black Earth
Title: Gnarled Rituals of Self Annihilation
Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories
Release Date: 27 September 2019
Country: Spain
Format reviewed: Digital Promo

It’s a beautiful autumn day and you’re caught up in some menial chores at home, but you don’t mind it. You’re enjoying the mellow rays that come through the window and flood the room. They warm the plants that shield a sleepy cat, not bothered by the changing colours of the trees or by the gentle breeze that rustles the fallen leaves. But something’s off. You’re not sure what, but something definitely doesn’t fit in this cosy, intimate setting. You become weary, turning your head left and right in a growing panic. And then, it happens. In a heartbeat everything is damned. That pleasant breeze becomes a raging wind, carrying the sound of death in its menacing howls. The sun, once a beautiful yellow, now looks like a ball of scorching tar and casts a light that devours all life. Your plants shrivel in an instant. Despite the inconceivable horror that grips you heart you manage to grab your little critter and run. You don’t know where you run, but you do. Once out in the open, you realise you are alone. Carcasses are everywhere, eaten away by the corrupting rays. You bump into something in your blind sprint and fall on the ground. You jump up in an instant only to see a human, half dead already, screaming and pleading for a merciful death. You back away and make way towards a small alley, where you can shield yourself and the small bundle you carry. You sit down between two rubbish bins and as the shock catches up with you, you start crying like you never thought possible, but in the torrent of tears and wails, you decide to check on your little companion.

Then, like a bullet that pierces your brain, you are finally broken. Instead of your little, furry friend, you hold in your arms a breathing cadaver with rotten, putrid flesh falling of its skeleton and black holes where its eyes were, the beautiful, green marbles replaced by two small nests of festering maggots digging through the skull, making a squirming sound that now feels like thunder in your ears. It’s done. Your sanity has been completely shattered and now you wait, completely catatonic, for the light to find you and take you away too. Just a bit more and it will all be…. You stand up screaming in your bed. Drenched in cold sweat and shaking from every joint imaginable, you look around confused. The sun is not there, but the moon took its place for the night, casting enough light so you can clearly see around the room. Your plants are there, a bright green that pierces through the dark. The calm wind blows soothingly under your window. On your left you find your cat, looking at you confused and a bit irritated by the fact that you woke him up from his sleep. It was a nightmare. You lay on your back but your heart isn’t slowing down. Dream or not, a lingering paranoia remains drilled in your mind, the wet squirm of the maggots still ringing in your ears. 

That is how listening to “Gnarled Rituals of Self Annihilation” feels and then the haunting emotions that poison you afterward. If played in the right setting, the entire duration of this dark piece of auditory horror will freeze your blood in your veins. You could start analyzing it, but it would almost be impossible to encapsulate the same feelings the album transcribes its surreal and twisted hallucinatory soundscapes. In the end, biographies, song breakdowns, labels and so on are meaningless here. This is an album you don’t dissect, but one you experience with your entire being. Wait for complete darkness, complete silence, complete isolation and then experience complete terror. 10/10 by MetalGentleman



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