Presumptions appear, presumptions fail. Presumptions can occasionally find themselves transmuted into some other level of understanding, apart from expectation. Consider: a download card handed to me at a metal show because of my Void t-shirt. The tacit understanding being that I would like the downloadable material because I like Void.
Bowl Ethereal – Five Minutes (self-released)
Presumptions appear, presumptions fail. Presumptions can occasionally find themselves transmuted into some other level of understanding, apart from expectation. Consider: a download card handed to me at a metal show because of my Void t-shirt. The tacit understanding being that I would like the downloadable material because I like Void. The reality though, comes with the material presented functioning nothing like the nexus point of this transaction between creator and consumer–forgoing chaos and nihilistic abandon for something more focused, more cerebral.
Said material, the five minutes of music constituting Bowl Ethereal’s appropriately nomenclatured Five Minutes EP, comes off more Voivod than Void (at least in the sense that oddball metal seemingly cannot be discussed without some mention of its Quebecois patron saints). One also might consider a mid-tempo Gorguts or the sporadic output of Loincloth (and anybody familiar with the latter would likely recognize Pen Rollings’ fingerprints all over this–though in Bowl Ethereal he forgoes the guitar for the drums); though a distilled vision, one in which all expected elements have been excised. No vocals, no verse-chorus-verse, no intros, no interludes.
Though on first listen it would seem like little more than a collection of riffs, a certain order reveals itself upon further examination. The songs initially appear in a linear form, a straight course through five minutes of part after unfolding part. Their refusal to move the music in any particular direction casts it in a different shape, one not exactly static, but calculatedly circling an orbit around some vaguely defined center–like a hunter tracing some ouroboric course around an unseen prey, index finger alternating between stroking the trigger and feeling the barrel’s cold metal, never committing to full violence but never leaving it far behind.
Theirs is not easy music, and can prove a frustrating listen for anybody expecting songs that go places and do things. But these tightly-wound compositions possess an internal logic not readily apparent to anybody but their creators that allows the work to operate at the periphery of the expectation and the presumption attendant to immersion in any genre. Though decidedly heavy, the music nimbly dances around the clumsily swinging tendrils of cathartic release and formal strictures, leaving only a fascinating and dizzying end product, operating in what few interstices still exist in heavy music.
Download Five Minutes for free from bowlethereal.com