Reviews Theologian A Means By Which To Break The Surface of The Real

Theologian

A Means By Which To Break The Surface of The Real

It is quite difficult to follow a project as active as Theologian. The career of the dark industrial unit has spawned a large number of releases, with albums such as The Chasms of My Heart and Finding Comfort In Overwhelming Negativity standing out. Main man of Theologian, Lee M. Bartow (a.k.a Theologian Prime) works with David Castillo and Daniel Suffering, as well as collaborators Matt Siagle and engineer Kevin D. Reilly, Jr in order to bring another journey towards the abyss.

The previous works of Theologian were making a tremendous effort to crush your mind. The noise aspect of the band was overwhelming, resulting in chaotic parts, razor sharp synths as well as dark ambient passages, rendering as a result the music in a state of constant turmoil. That is where the main switch seems to be occurring with A Means By Which To Break The Surface of The Real. Bartow seems to have much more control over the sonic textures of Theologian, managing to create claustrophobic, asphyxiating concepts without having to necessarily push it over the edge.

The album itself can be seen as a very dark odyssey through the city of Dis. The beginning of “God Comes As A Wall” sees Theologian slowly building tension, passing from a dark characteristic sound to more haunting moments. The track retains a demoniacal feeling, as if its core is unpure. The pandemonium soon follows, with the more chaotic ambiance of “The Sun Failed To Rise Today,” while the slithering approach of Theologian to the beginning of “Truthseeker's Pick” grabs you instantly. The subtle connection between chaos and order is kept at a perfect balance for Theologian, in terms of the ambiance and the background that they are raising. The hellish vocals that appear make the whole process even more difficult to handle, especially at parts where the background remains quite static, the screams radiate despair, with their eerie, infernal aura.

The structure of the four tracks is based on the pillar of industrial music. “Surface of the Real” appears more structured as a result of the cold, industrial approach. The repetitive patterns give it a more predictable characteristic, but the slight additions in terms of sound create a real vortex within the track. The patterns of the percussion are very well laid out, with their more subliminal approach creating mesmerizing passages. On the other hand, the industrial weight is not as heavy in “The Sun Failed To Rise Today,” but the monotonous beating that it applies can definitely drive you to despair. The primitive rhythm of the track is agonizing, with the song taking on a more elusive form, rising and falling without warning.

The vision of the band is expansive, with Theologian managing to fit a chunk of information in their structures. The background is rich in sonic textures, making it relatively easy to grasp how Theologian are constructing their own private world of pain and hurt. In terms of the noise input especially, Theologian really make A Means By Which To Break The Surface of The Real a very difficult album to handle. The sharp edge that this approach gives in “The Sun Failed To Rise Today,” with its evolving and mutating process as the track carries on, is the pinnacle of the torture that Theologian are inflicting with this record. On the final track of the album, the noise takes on a number of different forms. From the slow rise in the background of the track, it somehow manages to becomes intolerable from the beginning. The pressure that it applies might not be much, but its constant presence and sharpness is clearly pushing you over the edge. Slight changes and cool effects in the noise domain cause the background of the track to mature, as the noise constantly changes as if becoming tongues of fire, constantly moving.

A Means By Which To Break The Surface of The Real is a difficult album to handle. The strain that the concepts of Theologian are able to put on the listener has been enhanced since the previous releases of the band. The most striking aspect of that though, is the manner in which Theologian pulled this off. Not by enhancing the chaotic nature of their song, or pushing the boundaries of power electronics. It has been done by creating a suffocating album, filled with layers of different sounds, blocking out any light that might creep into this darkness. A great cartography of the cycles of Hell is what is found in A Means By Which To Break The Surface of The Real.

8.2 / 10Spyros Stasis
Leave a comment

8.2 / 10

8.2 / 10

Share this content
Related features

One Question Interviews Theologian

Posted Aug. 1, 2015, 10:55 p.m.

Lee M. Bartow, AKA Theologian Prime (Theologian, Annihilvs Power Electronix) SPB: Do you have a favorite type of van or bus? Bartow: Here I am ...

Recent reviews

BIG|BRAVE

A Gaze Among Them

8.5 / 10 BIG|BRAVE - A Gaze Among Them album cover

Big | Brave set out on a sonic journey influenced and inspired by diverse forces. For the band, on the one hand there was the elusive pull of their native ...

Evening Standards

World’s End

7.8 / 10 Evening Standards - World’s End album cover

It’s a dramatic understatement to say that music has changed since I first discovered DIY in the 1990s. But in many ways, one of the first things I discovered about ...

BlackDots

Everything Has Gotta Change

9.0 / 10 BlackDots - Everything Has Gotta Change album cover

Some albums just hit you right away. I was vaguely aware of BlackDots – some friends saw them at The Fest last year and said nice things, so I figured ...

Related news

Records New collab between Theologian and Lament Cityscape

Posted Sept. 22, 2016, 9:09 p.m.

Lament Cityscape have teamed up with Theologian for the collaborative Soft Tissue full-length, out Oct. 21 on Battleground Records and Annihilvs Power Electronix. The record combines both current and former ...

Bands New Theologian news: records, live, and more

Posted Dec. 2, 2015, 6:56 p.m.

New York Theologian has announced the release of their Dregs project, formerly an EP which has grown into a 9-track, 80-minute release created by Lee Bartow with Daniel Suffering (Whorid ...

Bands 1QI: Rebuilder, Lee M. Bartow, Cusses, Wolfnote

Posted Aug. 2, 2015, 4:52 a.m.

Welcome to our almost daily quickie Q&A feature: One Question Interviews. Follow us at facebook & twitter and we'll post an interview four days each week, typically every Monday-Thursday ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.