Daemogog - Yawning Expanse Yearning (Bent Window)

An odd one, for sure. Is it stompy death metal (DM)? Is it especially gruesome sludge? Do I hear some djent in there? For their dependence on familiar, fee-fi-fo-fum riffage, Daemogog bring some intriguing and almost puzzling sound combinations to the table. The same way the artwork on this second full-length bears the ghastly mask of Timeghoul worship—only with a black-metal band logo, and stoner-rock (?) lettering—Yawning Expanse Yearning comprises a fun jumble of musical commitments and subgeneric inflections. For one, the guitar tracks come caked in onyx crystals of dissonance, the same way I'd imagine Meshuggah garnishing a meat-and-taters DM release with simpler time signatures. Second, the bass just refuses not to make itself heard—whether it’s griming in and out of tune with the guitar tremolos above; contributing its weight to sharp arpeggios; or adding an almost percussive hit to the conclusion of a nasty riff (see the opening to “Globular Forms”). Its persistence recalls what made early sludge bands exciting, only soaked in the venom of an actual Acid Bath (not just the nominal one) in this high-octane dissodeath context. Altogether, the esotericism in and between the art and music risks annoying those obsessed with classificatory rigidities. But there’s no denying that Daemogog have honed a sound all their own. I’d like to hear them work with more experimental and varied production, but these are the releases that turn heads capable of adding that sort of value.