Jute Gyte - Unus Mundus Patet (Jeshimoth)

Despite using electronics in an analogously complementary fashion, Jute Gyte kill one of my biggest gripes with that overcrowded subgenre atmoblack: it always sounds too pretty. Starry-eyed shoegazers have brightened the grimy earth tones that were once emblematic of the genre, using mawkish post-rock goo, glazed reverb, and acoustic frills like a set of oil pastels. It’s hardly any surprise. It was only a matter of time before the schlocky sentimentality of Explosions in the Sky, This Will Destroy You, and MONO—which sugar-coated a lot of post-rock in the 00s and early 10s—bled into extreme metal. Today, bands like Panopticon, Trhä, and Sadness carry that sequined baton into the future.

Every yin has its yang, however, and even post-rock has a hidden dark side. Dissonant black metal (BM), perhaps in reaction to atmoblack's incessant beautification, often draws from the uncompromising atonality and grit of Swans, Slint, and early Mogwai, melding piquant guitar experimentation with overhauled second-wave aesthetics. In the arms race to see who can muster the most strident, jagged, and poison-tipped riffs, one-man BM thinktank Jute Gyte has arduously served from rural Missouri as one of dissoblack’s most elite and enlightened vanguards. Albums like Senescence, Birefringence, and Ressentiment crackle like decaying radioactive slag, taking cues from integral serialism, stochastic music, and modern classical. Unus Mundus Patet keeps the uncompromising avant-garde omnivoracity, but pumps fresh ichor from no wave, noise, and krautrock into the veins of the project’s exquisite corpse, while using microtonal guitars to further ratchet up the corrosive dissonance.

These songs are primarily guitar-driven, but Adam Kalmbach is far from a conventional guitarist. Kalmback approaches his instrument much like how John Cage played the piano, coaxing out clangorous metallic textures, extraterrestrial harmonies, and sour chord progressions that quaver and curdle. Other than the detuned synth pads that wheeze like overworked fog machines on "Zweisiedler" and "Mere," (a pair of gloomy ambient interludes that serve as much-needed respites) the record’s instrumentation is surprisingly straightforward. "Only Castles Burning" opens with an irascible arpeggio, then nosedives into nasal anti-melody and overblown post-djent chuggery, with 'leads' that sound like the sort of eerie esoterica you’d expect to hear on a Wolf Eyes or Yellow Swans record. The album doesn’t lack in aggression, either. "Disinterment of Sfanomoë" is as spasmodic and serrated as early Krallice, reveling in junkyard tremolo and warp-speed blastbeats. Similarly, the tectonic breakdown in the middle of "Killing a Sword" would whip any mosh pit worth its salt into a feral frenzy. In moments like these, it’s hard not to call Unus Mundus Patet the best exhibition of Jute Gyte’s greatest strength to date: uniting the intellectual and the visceral in a flaming cocktail, always served with a twist.