Written By: Lokasenna
Founded way back in 2002, Beirut’s Ayat pumped out a string of demos culminating in their well-received 2009 debut Six Years of Dormant Hatred. Not-so-hot off the heels of that release, (wonderfully-named) founders and only constant members (Reverend) Filthy Fuck and (Mullah) Sadogoat are back with another viscerally angry cut, this time with a side of politics, for reasons that should be self-explanatory in 2017. The label, hilariously over-the-top Moribund Records, promises the angriest black metal ever recorded. Surely hyperbole, right? Let’s see.
Album opener (and mouthful to read) “Raw War (Beirut Opens Her Pussy Once More)” blasts the doors open with a frenetic slurry of all the components that make up this release: a dual vocal attack that veers wildly between the imperious, catchy, and deranged; infectious, chaotic riffage; measured savagery behind the kit (or drum machine – more on that later); and shockingly well-used samples. That last one is an odd duck for black metal, but despite their extensive use, they never grate, as they – gasp– serve a purpose. As might be guessed, Ayat venture into political commentary on this release, with mammoth tracks “Jerusalem I” and “Jerusalem II” offering this most directly. “I” is an odd track, pairing a long sequence of vocal samples from various American pundits commenting on Islam and its relation/reaction to the Israel and Palestine dispute with a slow, groovy instrumental backdrop. “II,” conversely, offers the band’s response to said aggregate opinion. Album standout “Closure Is Boring” features some of the best axe-work on the album, complete with a slinky solo. Prior near-instrumental track “Fever in Tangiers, or To William,”1 rolls and rumbles with the occasional squeal, offering a nice breather of a track right in the middle of the album.
The only significant complaint to be mustered is regarding the length. Not a single song clocks in at less than four minutes, with several (“Jerusalem I” and “II” most notably) passing eight. The album runtime comes to a total of 64 minutes. For anyone new or otherwise unaware, that’s hellaciously long for black metal. That said, the record is well-written enough that the usual problems of textural stagnation that so often afflict black metal releases are totally averted here. A few tracks could be cut to reduce the runtime, if the length is truly odious, but I can overlook it on this release.
Given how sparse information is on this band (the only website reference found was for a Geocities page), I hesitate in making assumptions about compositional contributions beyond the two known core members. As hinted previously, it’s unclear whether the band presently has a drummer or simply a well-programmed drum machine, and the band information found indicates Filthy Fuck as the sole vocalist, but that’s certainly not the case here. In any event, the vocal work is some of the rawest, most blisteringly angry I’ve heard, contrasting high shrieks, rumbling roars, and clean but unpolished yowls, often pairing two of the above on a given line. The guitar and bass attack, courtesy of Sadogoat, veers from rippling groove to brute savagery to icy tremolo; as previously mentioned, this variety of instrumental and vocal dynamic greatly ameliorates the length problem. The mix is incredible, with every instrument ringing through clearly despite the dinginess of the recording, and while the master is less dynamic than is ideal, the record sounds great.
Angriest ever? I leave that debate to the internet, where every asshole has an opinion, but regardless, this album waves the flag of black metal very well. I’ll certainly be reaching back for their debut release too. This band has a great future ahead of them, so long as they keep up their momentum. Also, guys? Get a website.
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Moribund Records
Website: Too kvlt for computers
Releases Worldwide: November 24th, 2017