Mycorrhizae - The Great Filtration (Big Bovine Industrial Wastes)

If you follow kvlt trends as doggedly as I do, you’ve probably noticed the craze of masked black metal (BM) bands. Acts like Aara, Blut Aus Nord, and Laster have ditched corpse paint and obscured their faces with po-faced vizards, affecting ornate anonymities and channeling atavistic fire. The music video for Mycorrhizae’s “Strength in Space'' feels like a backwoods parody of this shtick, tracking the Minnesotan duo as they leapfrog through a burr oak forest in ghillie suits and telepathically communicate with an underground mycelial network. It’s over in an epileptic flash, but still conveys everything you need to know about the band’s debut album, The Great Filtration. Its zipline tremolo runs veer at warp speed, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously—all the while flaunting a suspicious obsession with mushrooms.

Savvy readers may remember the hypermelodic jubilee of Mycorrhizae’s self-titled EP, and the band continues to perfect that winning formula here. Like labelmates Kaldeket and Svisselsant, their sound is frantic and delirious, fueled by raw adrenaline and Dionysian ecstasy. You can all but see foam bubbling from their masks as they careen through these nine tracks like shaggy muppets, vaunting their flying Vs with madcap kamikaze abandon. The Great Filtration lacks the caprice of quirkier and more subversive pseudo-meloblack like Liturgy or Trhä, and isn’t gilded in the medieval pageantry of Véhémence or Hardiesse, but it pairs breakneck speed with a seemingly endless supply of squiggly laser-beam riffs that unspool like a fast-forwarded Robert Fripp solo. This grueling pace borders on psilocybin-induced hysteria, diffusing a sporous haze that veils these nine tracks in psychedelic shimmer. A scrupulous production job ensures this narcotic edge isn’t dulled by tape hiss and static—the band wisely skirt lo-fi aesthetics for clarity and oomph, all without sounding sterile or glossy. The spidery fretwork in “Transverse Highway” and “I Hear Their Voice” might have sounded rickety and feeble in a less robust mix, but feverish basswork buoys these scorching leads with a thumping low-end. Some may gripe that the album only knows one (ludicrous) speed, but frankly, that’s the point. Even if The Great Filtration could have benefitted from a tempo shift or two, its spazzed out, shroom-munching stampede barrels by so quickly—and with such gusto—that it hardly matters.