Album Review

Thoabath – “Drown” – [Neural Operations]

lexi glass   3/10/2021   A Library, CD

Thoabath is the solo project of Oakland’s A.C. Way (of several Bay Area groups, including Sutekh Hexen, Maleficia, Carrion and French Radio). Over the past five years, his work under this name has grown into a truly strange beast, a singular synthesis of death industrial rhythms, occult incantations, black metal, and blistering noise (see his 2018 cassette here). Created and recorded during the 2020 lockdown, his ninth release Drown magnifies these sounds over four massive tracks that together feel like a pure distillation of the inescapable dread that defined this miserable year. Anxious high pitched blasts, decayed noise, blaring emergency alarms, and howling voices all seethe within the dense rush of sound. In the third track, a lone synth figure meanders beneath the crushing storm, an image of isolation amid the chaos. Revisit this record to remember how it all felt, to sink to unthinkable depths, to struggle for a breath of air. Released on MK9’s label Neural Operations, with beautiful illustrations by local artist Bryan Proteau.

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