Massive and Ethereal: THISQUIETARMY’s “Anthems For Catharsis” Review + Stream
Eric Quach as been at it for a minute now. Not knowing who he is or what he does is pretty much unacceptable at this point, especially if you follow a blog like this one. Ten years are not an eternity, but its a whole lot if you spent them making some of the best drone/experimental music in the world released on labels like Denovali, Aurora Borealis, Consouling Sounds, Tokyo Jupiter, Alien8, Destructure, Basses Fréquences, Land of Decay, Orange Milk and more, and working with artists like Aidan Baker, Year of No Light and further. In essence, THISQUIETARMY is at this point one of the cornerstone projects in drone today, and a project that always yields some of the most heavy, glorious and ambitious ambient-experimental music out there today. Anthems For Catharsis is Quach’s latest work and contains some of the most melodic and accessible songs to date.
That said, you really need to interpret what “melodic” means in this context. With song lengths never surpassing the ten minute mark, but each one internally covering a ton of ground in style and moods, it is safe to say that Anthems For Catharsis is one of the most powerful, stripped-down, and driving records ever put to tape by the Canadian artist, and one that has not only reaffirmed his worth as one of the best contemporary drone artists, but to all effects also turned him into one of the best, post-metal and neo-shoegaze artists out there. This album is tough as a rock, extremely abstract and really hard to define, but it goes by FAST, in an unrelenting way, and flows like few experimental albums do. That’s why we say it’s melodic. You don’t frequently encounter such visionary and abstract works that are so easy to absorb and listen to, and that is Anthems For Catharsis’s absolute strength. The drum machines that pound this record like a hail of steel are in essence omni-present, and provide a constantly driving force for the album, a heart beat that makes it a powerful and lively cybernetic beast, a trait that renders it a sprawling and menacing force to behold. The record has very few fat and a ton of muscle..
It goes by fast, and you get carried away by it in an incredible way, cause there is no filler. It’s just like a really good two-hour movie that seems to go by in a matter of minutes like some kick-ass movies do. You can hear echoes of electronic “doom-gaze” in the vein of early Jesu or Black Boned Angel slither out as if we were put against an instrumental representation of these two bands. Nadja and Asva are also two obvious references here especially the former and their most recent work, but so are shoegaze/metal crossover bands like Pyramids (especially in their last outing), and other genre-defying enigmas like Wraiths, Braveyoung, and more abstract Broadrick projects like Pale Sketcher, Final and White Static Demon. Aside from the most obvious references this is a work that just pounds you with emotions and a constant rush of adrenaline. Some of the buildups are massive and bring to mind Godspeed You! Black Emperor, while other heavier and more aggressive moments bring to mind the pounding black-gaze of Blut Aus Nord in their recent 777 trilogy. Thisquietarmy’s Anthems For Catharsis is one of the best albums in this metallic drone and rock-ambient crossover realm to see the light this year. Quack’s own TQA Records & Consouling Sounds just released this beast on May 15.