The opening salvo of “Nothing” announces Column of Heaven’s album Precipice with a bulldozer crunch, furious drums and the only decipherable lyrics cutting through, saying “nothing” over and over again. The offset, the surprise, the negative energy and the ferocity are what make this band; and it’s exceptional this time around.
Last year’s trinity of releases, Failures, Holy Things are for the Holy, and Romance, explored uncomfortable tones in a myriad of textures, pulses, buzzes, and loops. Maintaining the same ethos and tone, the first half of Precipice is mostly grind that’s solidified in it’s rapid-fire riffing, stop/start blast beats and complete worship of speed. Thankfully, it’s not that black and white, as bouts of noise cut through, loops appear here and there and, of course, somewhere along the way a couple of samples from Possession make their way into the mix and man are they fucked (not to mention the whole loop talking about angelic vibrations and unconditional love – yikes).
The second half of the tape moves into weirder territory (somehow), with a Ride for Revenge cover and two tracks of ambient industrial courtesy of the band’s offshoot Wolves of Heaven. The Ride for Revenge cover is done faster, with a guitar (!) and extremely well (those Finnish weirdos are perfect for Column of Heaven). The other two tracks, “Love is a God from Hell” and “Hell is a Love from God” are calmer bits that do well to ease out, and roll out the last toothpaste in the tube of Precipice.
The band’s attention to atmosphere and aesthetic is, and has been, one of their most alluring features. When the tracks on the first side are flying high, it’s still the gaps in between riffs, whether they’re endlessly echoing vocals, the aforementioned samples or bits of noise, that really pull me in. Religious symbolism and fanaticism are portrayed in such a harrowing way that speaks so much louder than anything Paul Ledney or his ilk have said.
Not sure where to grab this tape, but hopefully it will be pressed on vinyl, or at the very least, be made available online for those unable to snag these.