German doom mongers Eremit cram so much into the three songs on Bearer of Many Names that they leave a trail of destruction impassible by the next band who dares to follow in their footsteps. There is no path left to follow. They have pushed the limits of extreme/sludge/fuzzed out doom to its breaking point, an avalanche of heavy.
There are of course challenges to overcome when pushing a certain sound or style to its brink. This album is not music for the casual listener. It is long, heavy, and emotionally taxing. The point of entry for a listener is high and difficult, this is advanced listenership. Basic and conventional song arrangement falls to the wayside, this album is something else. Those whose crave verse, chorus, verse, chorus structure need to seek refuge elsewhere. Run, bolt the doors and snuff out the candles, Eremit is on the prowl, hungry and unstoppable.
I think anyone familiar with Eremit will be thrilled to find an articulate, distorted journey that borders on atmospheric at times. That is not to say that this album sits back idly and fades into the background, in fact it is quite the opposite, it sets the atmosphere by drowning everything else out. The droning fuzz sets up the canvas and allows Eremit to culminate textures and accentuate colors on their own field. The trancelike wall of distortion blots out all other distractions and leaves only Eremit. The music becomes more storytelling then songs. That having been said, to a novice or casual fan of the sludge genre this album has potential to be sensory overload, unapologetically buzzing and churning with little respite.
Enshrined in Indissoluble Chains and Enlightened Darkness is an incredibly slow burn at 29:22. If songs were steak, this track would be the biggest hunk of beef on the menu. So mammoth that if you somehow scarfed it all down your gaping maw you’d get a free T-shirt and the chef would pose with you for the photo that will forever be immortalized on the restaurants wall of hero’s.
The song spends a good 6 minutes quietly drifting from shore lulling the listener into a sense of comfort, before just beyond the horizon the kraken breaks the surface and destroys. Once awake, the song mischievously sneaks up behind you and pushes you off a cliff with a jarring tempo shift, assaulting guitars and an explosion of metal. You are now in the vile clutches of Eremit. Blackened-death vocals, machine gun fire drums, circular riffs demented by black metal torsion and a meaty slab of distortion fortify Eremit’s position as one of the slowest, fuzziest, heaviest bands around.
In general the album does a great job of jumping back and forth from minor distortion to Eremit’s trademark heavy sound. It is an effective tool in keeping the listener fully submerged but not fully acclimated, making this album a much more active experience and keeping the listener fully aware and engaged. Like I mentioned earlier this is advanced listenership, you have to stick with the band and open yourself to the snail paced suspense. The greater the level of engagement the more potential for a satisfying reward.
Certainly anyone who is an existing fan of Eremit will find some of their finest work on this album. They truly shine and thrive in an incredibly extreme genre that has a very narrow margin of error. They navigate an immensely treacherous trail with steep cliffs on either side, lesser skilled bands could easily falter, coming off as unlistenable or parody as they plummet into the abyss. Somehow Eremit keeps their sound on the path and focused with Bearer of Many Names, leading the listener into a rich, fully realized, otherworldly soundscape. Accept the challenge, pour yourself two fingers of bourbon, throw on your headphones and go for the ride.
Eremit – Bearer of Many Names was released June 11,2021 via Transcending Obscurity Records
1. Enshrined in Indissoluble Chains and Enlightened Darkness
2. Secret Powers Entrenched in an Ancient Artefact
3. Unmapped Territories of Clans without Names