Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Fides Inferno: Correspondence (2011)

Drone That's Actually Good

Reading magazines, blogs, and other sources of metal news: That’s a pretty good way to find out about new music. But they’re really no substitute for personal recommendations. Fellow metal blogger Apteronotus alerted me to the existence of Fides Inferno because he thought it sounded like something I’d like. Yes, yes it does.

In strict genre terms, Correspondence is a drone metal album. I’ve documented a number of my attempts to get into drone metal, which have been mostly unsuccessful, but this is better. Whoever makes up this band have committed some horrendous act, and have fled to the wilderness, dogged by physical manifestations of the devil.

The first several tracks consist of ominous wind noises and vaguely Western strumming. At various times, they seem to down-tune the guitar while playing, and the loose strings rattle. Completely unintelligible, vague, sepulchral vocals add to the horror. Midway through, they start to add real distorted guitar riffs as punctuation; the one on “Transmission” is stunning.

Which leads me to what might be a revelation about drone in general, or maybe just this album in particular. This works so well for much the same reason that dark comedies can work. By setting a dark tone, the humor is more jarring, more surprising, and more satisfying. The same theory operates here, where the low-key droning renders the violent, stabbing guitar riffs that much more effective.

Correspondence works in subtle ways, so that when it becomes unsubtle, you really take notice. If you have 35 minutes of time alone to spare, this is a pay-what-you-want release that’s worth your attention.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

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