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The Cold View : Wires Of Woe, Ways Of Waste

The Cold View's sophomore is about as slow, tortuous, deliberate and unrelenting an album as any out there.

"Above the ground/But all they can hear is the sound
Of the wind in the antennae/It's a human zoo:
A suicide machine."

Hawkwind, in 1979, for the curious: a rather cheerless warning about the dehumanisation of life in a 'High Rise'. It could also have been a prophecy for the coming of this, The Cold View's sophomore release, opening its own window on the suicide machinery of humanity with the cruel, jagged, static squeal of antennae that introduces 'Wires'. "Cheerless" is an inadequate word for what follows: the fatal plunge of Hawkwind's protagonist seems like a pleasant trip in comparison to the sunless and desperate depths awaiting here. Even the band's name is somewhat understating its case: there is much worse than simple cold in this view.

Anyone who experienced the previous outing by sole band member A.A.S., on the 2012 debut 'Weeping Winter', will have an idea what to expect: Funeral Doom with industrialised drones, metallic-edged percussion and distorted guitar over layers of white noise and static, cavernous vocals dragging dispassionate syllables into an abyssal eternity, dissonant keyboard near-melodies thrown in to emphasise rather than relieve the leaden miseries on display. In short, the epitomy of unwaveringly depressive extreme metal.

Clearly, anyone expecting or wanting even the slightest sense of optimism from their music would be in the wrong place, and know that within about 10 seconds. Even those with a penchant for being on the receiving end of grim sonic experiences might find 'Wires Of Woe...' something of an endurance test: none of the four tracks making up the extended concept clock in at less than 15 minutes, and almost none of those minutes offer any sort of easy listening.

Still, for all that, the uncompromising purity of the material has a certain stark appeal: it presents the suffocating, monolithic slabs of its motifs like slow-moving tides, vast shapes gliding, more felt than seen, below the dark surface. It can suck you in and make you part of the desolate lament for life that The Cold View expresses; watching the sun set over a landscape disfigured by the sharp, skeletal infrastructure of power lines and the decaying ruins of buildings. Knowing that, after this, the light will never return. It isn't a new concept - human life losing all value, not with a bang but with a drawn-out, choking whimper - but the bleak soundscape conveys it well enough.

Production-wise, it's just a little smoother and more polished than the debut, which brings out the near-subsonic background drones and rumbles that much more clearly, and gives the hypnotic nature of the music space to work in. The glossy limited digipack, courtesy of Endless Winter, is neatly presented, with a full-colour booklet containing all lyrics (these, it should be noted, are well-done: creating thoughtful and articulate vignettes), making it worth the extra cost over the download version.

'Wires Of Woe...' isn't going to appeal to everyone: it's about as slow, tortuous, deliberate and unrelenting an album as any out there. But if you have a sneaking suspicion that Until Death Overtakes Me could be a little too upbeat and melodic in places, you should feel right at home here, where - as A.A.S. puts it - "In this cold gray light, all is in woe".

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. Wires
2. Woe
3. Ways
4. Waste

Duration : Approx. 66 minutes

Visit the The Cold View bandpage.

Reviewed on 2014-10-12 by Mike Liassides
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