without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
I could very easily see Adam Kalmbach's Jute Gyte project become a sort of Blut Aus Nord for the states, a consistent exhibition of both the black metal and ambient spectra which is wholly unafraid to join the two in a selection of marrow draining compositions. To date, he has danced both sides of the line, with several recordings that are fully in one camp or the other, but even so, external influences very often bleed into the stream of inspiration, and Impermanence proves no exception. The rustic, leaning limbs and autumn leaves of the cover would normally leave one in question of just what the DVD packaged album might aurally contain, and yet the title itself is married completely to the image, a portent that no living thing can sustain indefinitely, and that the dying itself imprints an fleeting and desperate beauty upon the retina. Or, in the case of Jute Gyte, the ear.
I've warned before that Kalmbach's records are not easy to access, and the constant holds here. Why, even in the very first track, "Meaninglessness and Waste", a rush of dense and raw, drum programmed blasting must be endured before one arrives at the more curious bits, like the wending, droning guitar melody and the alien dissonance in the rhythm guitar and bass tone. You will not find the sort of consonant, ear pleasing tremolo spurts you expect from the friendlier, Scandinavian exports, but rather noisy and drudging tones aligned more within the controlled discord of French acts Blut Aus Nord or Deathspell Omega, if not always performed at the same intensity. Or maybe a touch of Havohej. Where Jute Gyte excels, however, is in Adam's patient ability for the 'reveal' of the composition, how its bared teeth gradually part to expose a tongue which turns to the cadence of several musical languages. Several of the tracks on this album feel as if I'm watching a Lars von Trier film, awaiting the inevitable, always fucked revelation that makes the audience gasp in confusion or release.
Some of their opening credits consist of a more metallic nature, as in the aforementioned opener "Meaningless..." or the harrowing onrush of "Partial Wing", but then you've got exceptions like "The Wild Rain", which feel more like a canter of epochal sludge-punk dowsed in a guttural vocal dressing. Or "Hermit Haunter of the Lonely Glen", which is inaugurated by descending cycles of glinting melodies that lapse into the black/noise onslaught. A lot of the songs have these great, plunking bass patterns that erupt into some sodden progressive fog which falls somewhere in betwixt a garage Primus and undiluted Seattle grunge haze. But there are also some notable ambient passages, like the janky titular guitar interlude or the sinister, warped bridge of "The Old Hills' Indifference" before it storms into the unhallowed traffic of its oozing bass and ambient spikes around 5:30. The point is, with just about every single piece of music (excepting the title track), there is something waiting in the wings, something you might not expect...
And this is crucial in maintaining the listener's attention span. Most of the songs here are around 9-10 minutes in length, so to loop the same ideas endlessly would cripple their effect. Yet, Jute Gyte somehow never seems aimless in direction. The surreal, impressive lyrical imagery seems to compensate for the often one-track, tormented Burzum vocals, and while not every guitar pattern is captivating, they are never recycled beyond the point of no return. Something new is always around the corner, but the songs never seem excessively spastic or ADD-attuned. The production is feral and traumatic without actually hurting the ears like a Nattens Madrigal. In the end, I've found Impermanence to be the most impressive of Jute Gyte's works to date, further exploring along the axis of an Old Ways or Verstiegenheit without abandoning that same, isolate, outsider vision.
Barely giving any of us time to recover from the intensity experienced while listening to the jaw dropping Verstiegenheit, one-man band Jute Gyte has decided to grace the universe with another full-length album. The prolific musician has decided to unleash another metal opus (let us ignore the other two releases, not due to lack of quality, but rather because they are not metal, thus not an appropriate point of comparison) with only months to take in the demanding, yet phenomenally rewarding Verstiegenheit, which marveled those who had the pleasure of hearing the piece. The proximity between both releases is bound to cause fans to compare the albums with greater thoroughness. This, however, may be a necessary step in understanding exactly how the arising beast that is Impermanence tramples over Verstiegenheit, burns through half of the black metal world and brands its peculiar mark upon the metal tree.
For he who has yet to hear Jute Gyte, its music is firmly rooted on black metal, but the progressive elements, complex musicianship and extravagant take on psychedelia makes the whole affair far more interesting than anyone can efficiently translate into words and do justice to the band. These ideas are indeed present in Verstiegenheit, but what makes Impermanence so special is that every single of these elements achieves greater cohesion despite being even further away musically. The album vaguely reminds me of De Magia Veterum’s godly EP In Conspectu Divinae Majestatis or the incredible-beyond-comprehension Croire, Décroître by Unholy Matrimony. The progressive sections capture the listener better than they did in Verstiegenheit, the black metal is more diverse and aggressive and the psychedelic sections are wilder and fresher than ever. Tracks like The Wild Rain, The Old Hills’ Indifference and A Wind Sways the Pines are examples of how every comes together in a smoother, more logical fashion than before, which makes the songs easier to stomach. Despite the fact that most of the music here embraces black metal, the album doesn’t feature the general feel of the typical black metal album, but instead feels more like a fever dream gone horribly wrong, a sensation that I generally attribute to the masters from Sigh, and I mean this as a compliment (how can being compared to Sigh be anything but a compliment, anyway?). Instruments are played capably; there are no hyper-technical acrobatics to be found in anywhere, but the songs are ridden with abundant twists and turns, that turn them into complex machinations that are, at the very least, tricky to perform.
The album regrettably falls just short of perfection by quite simply not delivering a consistently strong vocal performance. While the death grunts sound fantastic, exhibiting great power and solid technique, the black metal shrieking (which constitutes roughly an 80-90 percent of all vocals in the album) sounds amateurish, almost as the singer is learning how to hit the black metal style properly. This is, however, less of a problem than it may sound upon reading this, since vocals are scarce and never get in the way of the music, which is far and away the strength of this effort and should by no means be a significant detriment to the quality of this release.
All things considered, Impermanence is a staggering gallery of awesome, and should prove quite impressive even to those who have followed Jute Gyte prior to this album. Every that happened in Verstiegenheit and that made it such a great listen is further expanded upon and integrated more coherently than ever before. Note that this sizeable progression has taken place within months of a very long and complex album, thus speaking volumes about the confounding promise (and rapid volume of material) that this project continues to display. There is no good reason why this release and/or this band to slip under the radar: as of the writing of this text, the album can be downloaded for free (LEGALLY) on bandcamp.com.