Gruntsplatter – Dowsing In The Cancer Lands

Gruntsplatter – Dowsing In The Cancer Lands CD Crionic Mind 2021

The last full-length Gruntsplatter album was issued way back in 2005, and apart from some compilation collections dating from 2015 and 2020 respectively, 2021 has seen some renewed activity from Scott Candey’s main project, as well as his label Crionic Mind. Noting that I came across Grunsplatter from their early days of activity in the late 1990’s, Scott always excelled and blending sounds from disparate underground genres such as dark ambient, noise and death industrial, yet combining these elements in his own unique way. As is then illustrated on Dowsing In The Cancer Lands this broader approach has not altered and still remains the core of his sound.

From the opening moments of the album, molasses think waves of industrial-grade dark ambience abound, further combined with noise-infused drones, providing an excellent indication of what is to play out over the following 12 tracks/ 70 minutes. A suffocating claustrophobia remains a constant mood which is threaded throughout, while sonic detailing and a meticulous approach to the laying of the multitude of its sounds elements also characterises proceedings. As such buzzing drones, mechanical churn and radioactive bluster form a bedrock of sorts. Added to this are higher-pitched tonal shards which slash through thick inky black soot clouds, while in other segments extremely minimal rhythms and muted doom addled melodious elements appear and recede. Scarlet Quarry manages to then stand apart however thanks to the lone melancholic violin which floats above a roiling tonal mass. The album mastering by Thomas Garrison is also noteworthy has also given the sound significant presence and bulk without being overblown or losing depth and separation of sound layers.

As is clearly on display here Scott is clearly not seeking to reinvent Grunsplatter’s sound. Rather this new album builds upon what has come before and plays out as an expertly crafted and surprising vital sounding recording. This is then the sort of release which is best appreciated as an album in its entirety, rather than singling out specific tracks. A cleanly designed and suitably darkly grey-hued 6-panel digipack rounds out the physical presentation.

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