Black Wound - Warping Structure (Self-released)

When death metal’s Neanderthal savagery is quelled by doom’s leaden stupor, the results can be devastating. Bands like Krypts, Mortiferum, and Worm have found success with this hybridized approach, stylishly melding feral rancor with plodding lamentation. Death metal’s barbarity nettles despondency into a frothing rage, while doom’s restrained pace makes otherwise slapdash riffs pound like thunder against stone. Mutant Geccho has written about this synergistic mash-up, but hasn't remarked on one dirty little secret: a lot of so-called death doom acts have made headway simply by emphasizing one of the genre's two constituent components over the other. Beyond that parlor trick, the genre does not offer much in the way of true experimentation.

Like a battle-vested crust punk at the opera, Black Wound deviate from this death-to-doom, doom-to-death spectrum. The up-and-coming Swedish outfit definitely siphon power from both of the genre's source elements, but neither wholly defines the resultant sound. Instead, they lace their fangs with venom from noise rock, power electronics, and black metal, conscripting crackling bass fuzz, razor-grinding shrills, and blowtorched production to animate a Frankenstein's monster that reminds me of what Body Void might sound like if they wrote actual songs instead of recycling the same riff for eight minutes. Warping Structure distances itself even further from death doom's moth-eaten tropes by evoking an aesthetic of urban decay, conjuring graffiti-scrawled images of vacant parking lots and barren strip malls. This quiddity eschews the dungeons and dragons that typically garnish the genre and mainlines a modern existential paranoia that chars their sound with quasi-industrial soot, recalling sludgier acts like Abstracter, The Body, or Primitive Man. The dynamic vocal delivery affirms all these comparisons—with harshes on tracks like "Sworn" and "Trench Blast" running the gamut between head-cradling howls, pigfuck ogre-grunts, and staticky shrieks that seethe with console-frying, cyborg rage. These guttural shifts are often marked by nosedives into gales of turbulent feedback that push the traditional guitar and bass chonk past the borders of extreme metal into noise music's badlands. Black Wound's truck bed meth-lab has produced a full-bodied blackened-industrial death doom experience in Warping Structure, and if they continue tinkering with the chemistry on their own terms, they may just create a subgenre of their own.