With the change of seasons, there comes the need to step outside of one’s comfort zones to explore what’s out there for new music. As the cat-guy who’s had more than his fair share of one-person black metal, weepy doom metal, and even metalcore, I’ve been craving something more… organic. Something a little more sludgy. More grimy. Thankfully, With Inexorable Suffering, the second full-length from California’s Our Place of Worship is Silence, fit the bill nicely. Having gone from a full band to just two members (drummer Tim and guitarist Eric… and no, they don’t have their own awesome show), the paring-down of members allows the duo to focus their energies on some rather intriguing blackened death metal.
After “Artificial Purgatory” opens up with some maniacal drumming, riffs that sound like Bolt Thrower fed through a waterlogged Marshall that was left in a long-abandoned marsh, and horror samples of what sounds like a man either becoming a werewolf or being eaten alive by one, “Chronicles of Annihilation” barrels forth with cavernous vocals1, feverish blast beats, and riff upon grotesque riff, smothering the listener as the song drags them along an uncomfortable, unpredictable journey through its labyrinthine structure. Through its all-too-brief length, you are bombarded with enough twists and turns to feel absolutely uncomfortable as to where the song is going. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve felt that in an album, and Our Place of Worship is Silence captured that unease with alarming frequency.
The key to that success lies in Eric’s riffs. Sometimes grimy, at other times swirling, his ability to leave the listener gathering their senses helps place With Inexorable Suffering above many of their contemporaries. “The Blind Chimera and Its Death” opens up with a riff that sounds like Candiria after an all-night Blut Aus Nord binge before switching gears entirely, blasting and grinding (or lurching methodically) with murderous intent before leveling everything in sight with 3:35 onward. Disorientation, when used sparingly, can be an effective tool that catches the listener’s ear, and combined with the sheer heft of the riffs and Tim’s relentless battery, showcases some insane promise ahead for the duo.
But With Inexorable Suffering is not without some major flaws. As the album wears on, familiarity rears its ugly head, and although there are subtle differences in each song, it’s still not enough to shake off the feeling of endless repetition. Also, closer “Lawlessness Will Abound” suffers from being a strong four-minute finisher trapped in a bloated seven-minute song. Less is undoubtedly more here, especially when so much is already being said in much shorter songs within the same album. That said, the slimy, almost suffocating production fits With Inexorable Suffering like a glove, with murky guitars and bass mingling with thick drums and vocals that bellow from the cavernous depths. For once, an album that does just fine without the pristine bells and whistles of a dynamic production, as despite the lack of dynamics, it still feels warm and organic while retaining its grotesque nature.
With a winter punctuated by sterile black metal, With Inexorable Suffering came along at just the right time. While not flawless by any stretch, it hit the right notes when needed, and has got me intrigued as to what Our Place of Worship is Silence will come up with next. Definitely a band to keep an eye out on, and one that will scratch that itch for the murky just nicely.