Massed In Black Shadow is a fifty minute swirling vortex of harsh sound and painful noise imbued with a seething wretchedness that creeps and boils with a deeply unsettling pace. The duo that comprise this project are often found contributing to a multitude of other dirty and rotten bands, most notably Welter In Thy Blood, but also The Slaughtered Lamb and Pro-Death, and how they find the time for DEATHSTENCH is anyone's guess. But find the time they do (whether that's by magic or some other much more devious means), and Darea Plantin and John Paul Whetzel use a certain grossness to filter into their work with DEATHSTENCH, which is truly horrific to experience and quite difficult to handle all at once.
Massed In Black Shadow is a slow burning exercise in terror and the darkly ambient noises that sink into "Corpse Upon a Throne of Wyrms" writhe underneath your skin like a parasite, steadily moving towards your nervous system and brain and greedily feeding on your fears. It's as gruesome as it sounds and when the sub-human vocal that seems dredged from the very bowels of hell begins to echo in your skull...then you might as well give up all hope for you are trapped within the halls of their malignancy.
The atmosphere is one of supreme disgust - with life, religion, people - and the industrial death feeling that conjures up such miseries are extremely tangible and repulsively perceptible. Droning, howling structures of sound waver on the brink of total destruction with "Symbols of Warm Flesh" which moves and builds into a considerable and unpleasant crescendo. DEATHSTENCH are not here to be enjoyed. Their music is distressing and and quite severe in terms of tone, there's no apology forthcoming for how incredibly harrowing this experience is and nor should the band give one. You go into black ambient noise with the expectation that it's going to be torture, and DEATHSTENCH do indeed agonise with unending thrums of feedback, possessed howls and metallic vibrations of utter suffering.
"Bastards of the Black Flame" closes Massed In Black Shadow with a grisly and scourging doom. Gross sounds of unimaginable torment are summoned to the fore and given all the unnerving darkness they deserve whilst screeching layers of amplified feedback end the album on a terrifically excruciating note. Extraordinarily wretched and perfectly despicable.
8.0 / 10
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