Dejection - Misery [Altar Of Waste - 2016]Fitting its name Dejection is Cory Strand's (Fantome De Sang, Lethe, Dreamless) project for his more introspective & hopeless sonic outpourings. Here from late 2016, we have a CDR severing up a selection of four ten-minute tracks. These move from doomed keyboard scaping, onto pressing & pitch black ANW, through to bleak electric guitar work-out. This release is themed around one of the bleak classics of English literature Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.
The CDR comes in the house style clear DVD case of the Altar Of Waste label. The covers a double-sided monochrome affair, taking in moody line drawings of windswept moors & a man, with white texts on a black background been presented in dramatic squiggle font. This came in an edition of 5 copies, which have now all sold-out. At present, I don’t think it’s on Mr. Strands Bandcamp…
Each of the four tracks here come in on or near the ten-minute mark, and first up we have “And Flung It Back To Me”. This consists of slurred & pulled out selection of lower end keyboard notation, which are fed out into a doomed hovering mass of sound. The track conjures up the feeling of lying in bed heavy with life’s weight, staring out into the pre-dawn light. So a nice grim start to proceedings.
Next, we have two pressing bass heavy ANW tracks- first, there’s "As Winter Changes The Trees", this is built around a selection of catastrophically churning & downward swirling tones- these are both tight & clipped in their feel- all creating a constantly descending maelstrom of bleakness. The second track is "A Melancholy Sweeter Than Common Joy"- this finds a stark blending of a muffled & simplistic bass churn, with these caught industrialized sub-tones. I really like the first track, but was less keen on the second as the churn seemed too cropped, and it never really sucked me in.
Topping off the album we have "Because Misery, And Degradation and Death"- this is strung-out & mournful electric guitar track. To begin with, it rather brought to mind the type of dark country rock Dylan Carlson might put-out, but as it progresses Strand embeds it with distinctive flavors of pained indie guitar emotional strum ‘n’ weave. It’s a great end to the album, leaving one in a suitable resigned & melancholic glow.
Strand is one of the most prolific artists working in the underground noise/ ambient/ atmospherically experimental scene- seemingly putting out new work every few weeks, so it does make it a difficult to firstly take it all in & secondly picking out the high point. With that in mind, I must say Misery certainly stands as one my favorite Strand releases in some time, I just found the second ANW track a slight let the side down…but not enough to stop me giving this a 4 mark.Roger Batty