Review: “II” by Snorlax

Enter Snorlax, the wretched grind-child and one man progeny of Brendan Auld, head of the prolific Black Blood Audio in Brisbane, Australia. Brendan’s vile creativity extends deep into the Brisbane underground, summoning some of the filthiest the Australian East Coast has to offer with current and past work in Descent, Siberian Hell Sounds, Consumed, Dire Wolf, Necroseptic and Resin Tomb. Riding on the highly acclaimed 2018 “Splintering” which saw the light of day via Caligari Records, “II” threatens to continuing the vicious and scathing blackened death-grind journey that had begun in uncompromising fashion. Hailing guttural tomb-style growls and frosted screeching, Snorlax promise to hammer through 22 minutes of an excruciatingly energetic presentation that only a maniacal necromancer would be capable of. Now while all the music was written, performed, recorded & mixed by Brendan Auld at Black Blood Audio, the drums & rhythm guitars were engineered by Mark Perry at Underground Audio in Brisbane two years ago in December 2018. Credits also include mastering by Simon at Empty Hall Studio, Spain and of course cover artwork by NecroFrost.

The opening pair of cuts in “Infernal Devourment” and “The Resin Tomb” are both short, sharp Black Metal inspired affairs that prepare the ground for the later longer material. On the opener, Auld’s vocals are nothing short of pure evil while the purposefully raw production value gives everything an old school, 4 track recording vibe. As you would expect the Nordic riffs are accompanied by blast beats galore but the game changer is the step out of the shadows into some Blackened Thrash. Mathew Budge adds some pitching difference in the 92 seconds of “The Resin Tomb” and that creates a demon upon each shoulder screaming into your ears. Both will give you tinnitus at any volume but you’ll suffer gladly. As glorious as the opening pair are, the song lengths double and in some cases triple from here on out which lends to greater dynamics and use of atmospherics. Building from an introduction of grandeur “The Chaos Ov Iron Oppression” rises into a full on Black Metal reign of dark terror with the nuance and subtlety not heard earlier on. Whether the lyrics are a reference to the mineral harvesting and destruction of the lands of Australia (there are twelve substantial mines in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, while smaller mines are scattered elsewhere with the two leading major producers being BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto) or not, is a mute point because they’re for the most part indistinguishable. The vocals are as much an instrument on this as they are anything else and it’s all the better for it.

At nearly six and a half minutes “Mind Ov Maggots” is the most ambitious Snorlax get on “II” and from it’s slow progressions left to ring out for the opening third, it sets a mournful tone. Rising to walk the cold, frostbitten wasteland with a flourish of blast beats, it gazes into the distance like it’s been bitten by a snake whose venom is slowly taking effect. It’s very much the calm before the storm because as “Encapsulated Apocalypse” sweeping in, it takes hold an builds on the dynamic with some of the finest Black Metal from the region. Anthony Oliver lends his throat to “Impending Abysmal Wretchedness” and its ferocity and raw intensity is nothing short of genius. The purists won’t thank him for the whammy bar moments but their use of the innovation works [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Infernal Devourment
  2. The Resin Tomb (ft. Mathew Budge)
  3. The Chaos Ov Iron Oppression
  4. Mind Ov Maggots
  5. Encapsulated Apocalypse
  6. Impending Abysmal Wretchedness (ft. Anthony Oliver)

“II” by Snorlax will be released on 10th January and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp

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