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Though I found it the least engrossing of the six Jute Gyte albums I've yet covered here, it speaks volumes that Senescence maintains that sense of driving discomfort and experimentation that dominates Adam Kalmbach's project. In terms of artistry, this disc continues to carve out some of the more poignant and frightening terrain in all of USBM, a dissonant monolith of isolation unperturbed by trend or accessibility. But I found my disappointment stemmed largely from the first three tracks (representing about 30 minutes of material), which for some reason just weren't hooking me like these records usually do, and then there were a few dry spells later on the album that returned to the same, numbing sense that I'd been here before, and that this particular path of composition might be drawing to its natural conclusion.
There is some trace of redundancy with the earlier Jute Gyte black metal albums, but I would say that this is perhaps the most consistent in terms of its dry, heaving, scorched earth affectations. The lengthy tracks tend to hover around a 9-10 minute duration and mesh together a weave of faster paced, dissonant grime and breakouts of drudging, bombastic chords, which is not atypical for this project, and strangely mirrors a lot of the lower tier underground black metal which uses a good deal of repetition and padding along to the drum programming. That said, where Kalmbach's work has always differed is in his constructions of chords, which bring a fresh, yet still harrowing nuance to the predictability often associated with your usual tremolo patterns or Darkthrone/Hellhammer grooves. As such it has almost always felt like Jute Gyte was some parallel development of black metal which came out of some long lost continent, that had lost contact with the world since the first few releases from Burzum, Ildjarn, or other tortured souls responsible for bringing this primal and repulsive instinct to the niche. Senescence is no exception to this agenda, it simply loses of that element of surprise inherent to its predecessors.
I thought the most unique and fascinating piece here was tucked away at the end with "Griefdrone", a mortifying afterthought which almost feels like something off Filosofem if it had been infested with an almost sporadic improvisation of dungeon synth/B-grade horror score keys to create a convoluted canvas of slowly elevating filth. Once that imminent wall of distorted girth arrives deep into the track, it's like a crushing weight being applied to the listener's throat, and it's without a doubt the most memorable of these tunes. The titular "Senescence" is another of the Jute Gyte instrumentals, but this time quite different than "Isolation", which is hands down one of my favorite cuts in his whole catalog. Sad, stripped guitars ring off into a folksy ambiance with a 70s glaze of synthesis for support, and this is yet another of the album's standouts. As for the more purely black metal material, it's "The World Falls Apart Into Facts" which struck me hardest, a 10 minute behemoth of nihilistic blasting, atonal spikes of descending tremolo melody and some incredibly breakdowns into pummeling chords or spatial clean guitars and asylum screams in the substantial bridge.
Otherwise, I felt like a lot of the other material, especially on the first half of the disc, seemed to blend together, if only because the riff textures just didn't seem so distinct as others he's written. I do like the weird, swerving current of bass that rides the edge of perception alongside the thundering chord sequences, but there were only a few passages of guitars, generally during bridges, that came out of left field. The lyrics remain a highlight of this act, especially in "Striated Rubies" and "The World Falls Apart Into Facts", evocative snips of poetry that eschew a lot of the faux-occult grandstanding popular with the genre in favor of some relevance to civilization, mortality and the individual's relationship to nature. The vocals have ever been the least novel aspect of Jute Gyte, but they still pursue that genuine suffering once manifest by the outsiders of the genre (Varg Vikernes the strongest comparison). Ultimately, Senescence is an hour of measured savagery with a few exhilarating twists, but it didn't rattle my perceptions quite so much as its slightly more eccentric predecessors like Impermanence or Old Ways.
Originally posted on my reviews blog at heavymetalspotlight.blogspot.com
Jute Gyte albums are a far from rare occurrence, with releases geared towards black-metal emerging at least a couple of times a year. Fortunately, as experience has taught me, the speed of production doesn't make the music itself sound rushed; far from it. I can't say new releases take my by surprise any more, such is the rapidity of their appearance, but I my interest was certainly grabbed by the latest black-metal album - Senescence.
Adam Kalmbach, the man behind the Jute Gyte name almost always manages to describe his music far better than I can, and the couple of lines which accompany Senescence are no exception. One of the words which struck me the most was when he described the music as "tangled", which may have been exactly the word I was seeking each and every time I've reviewed a Jute Gyte album. As with the previous releases, this manifests itself most generally as twisted, often violently discordant, but at the same time rigorously and meticulously structured black-metal; mechanistic, but also at times very emotionally charged; Blissful, melancholy and at times unnerving tremolos and quieter sections pepper the whole record, in a way which renders Jute Gyte's brand of black-metal something rather unique, still. The accustomed percussive bedlam of dissonant and hypnotic rhythm which bedecks all of the black-metal albums under the Jute Gyte moniker is present as always, slightly, subtly different in some ways, and exceptionally consistent in others. This album sees a greater exploration of slower tempos, and while a lot of the album still shrieks past at a relentless speed, there are many slower sections which really give the unique atmosphere of Jute Gyte some room to manoeuvre and breathe, casting it in a different light. The atmosphere is certainly something which has been refined as the albums go by, and from Young Eagle onwards, the albums take small steps towards a slightly more organic feel, both aesthetically and sonically.
One of the things I enjoy when listening to any of Jute Gyte's black-metal material is the fearless experimentation. Rhythms and structures which I dare say many bands would be afraid to try make it onto the album, often to great effect; The middle sections of "Striated Rubies" for instance is a winding, inscrutable mass of guitar-work which nonetheless sounds fantastic, and not merely through some token bizarreness, but through genuinely adding to the album and sounding complete, well thought out, and effective. What I can only imagine to be unusual-time-signatures, syncopation, and other such musical devices which I lacked a full understanding of when I reviewed the last album, and still lack an understanding of now, are used very effectively throughout the record, and the end result is something which sounds positively non-euclidean, albeit in a positive way. While initially inaccessible, the music is a particularly tasty acquired taste, one very much worth diverting oneself from all other activities and really concentrating on while it's playing; It's the kind of music which is very easy to get lost in, with cleverly layered subtleties making it addictive and infinitely explorable. It is once again clear that Kalmbach has crafted in a short time, an album, the writing-quality of which belies the rapidity of his musical output.
I was informed by Adam Kalmbach that this album is "[...] kind of my final statement in the style I've been mining since Verstiegenheit or Impermanence". Is this the last album in this particular style? Perhaps. Maybe it's just hindsight, but this album does have quite a strong sense of finality on it. Is it the final album by Jute Gyte? Almost certainly not. He says he has "definite plans", and considering that he thought up something as thoroughly unique as the project's current sound, I await his next scheme with great interest. Until then, of course, I plan to enjoy this album.