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An Incredible Musical Journey - 100%

arcanusdevious, December 11th, 2012

After indulging in the ear-bleeding experience offered by Ghost in the Fire, Drug Honkey’s fourth studio album, I am absolutely convinced that the tired cliche of a third time's the charm does not hold water. Ghost in the Fire’s veteran release has shown me the error of my ways. I am humbled by the experience. My mind has been broken, now sundered into a million little pieces, by this sinister landmark album. For now I will staunchly claim that it has to be the fourth. Until of course, Drug Honkey proves me and the cliche wrong with another release.

Although Drug Honkey - their self-titled debut, Hail Satan, and Death Dub are all exceptional albums, this new album proves, at least in my opinion, that Drug Honkey are evolving towards musical Godhood, aggressively clamoring upwards towards the pinnacle of experimental greatness. Listen to this haunting album and I doubt you will find anything to artistically deconstruct. Words cannot express how powerful this new outing is, or the mind-blowing efficacy this ambient doom approach, these eclectic theme songs for the apocalypse, have had on this mere mortal’s psyche. This album blew my mind!

Each song starts basic, stripped down to the core like bloodied meat on a butcher’s block and as bare bones as a mammoth carcass feasted upon by vultures. As a track progresses, multiple layers are added: interchanging background & forefront hellish synth/sample emanations to accent, while adding the plodding bass and drum beats; tuned down guitars that impress a cacophony of horrific sounds, ranging from bleak death metal power chords, to plucked reverberations reminiscent of lamenting whales; menacing vocals that traverse several genres from spoken word to gurgled black metal hisses to visceral death metal growls to maniacal Pattonesque vocal modulations. All of these abyssal sounds converge to suffer psychotic audible carnage upon the listener.

Ghost in the Fire feels like Drug Honkey’s most realized album. Not to detract from their other releases, but I sense more confidence in the design of each brutal track, more deliberation. To great effect, improvisation has taken a backseat to an impressive creative conviction that follows very few rules save for keeping it painfully heavy and woefully slow.

A banshee wail ushers in Order of the Solar Temple, Ghost in the Fire’s opening track, which sets the tone for this plutonian exercise in dread-born sludge. In Black Robe, which is now in my Ipod’s most played songs, epitomizes despair and will leave a mark as potent as Caine’s upon the listener’s soul. A theme song for John Bunyan’s, Slough of Despond where souls sink under the weight of their sins and the sense of guilt for having committed them, would be an ideal summation of this slithering aria. Nachtmystium’s, Blake Judd offers vocal & lead guitar support on Weight of the World, which I’m inclined to say, was a match made in hell. With stellar productions values, each and every song on this album has something to offer a connoisseur of macabre doom.

Drug Honkey's music is an anomaly, a deviation, even from the musically abnormal, in that the sound eschewed is both meaningfully composed and psychotically tempered. Each composition contradicts itself, leaving one believing that the ideas herein represent nihilism, a fetid ideology with little patience for an emotional response to any of the songs produced for this opus. But listen harder, listen and scrutinize, and you'll find that beneath the gelid drones and dismal ambience, there lies cryptic lamentations about the subtle tortures of civilization and the malevolent influence of earth's remorseless manipulators. This visceral masterpiece should be added to any experimental music lover’s collection.