Saturday, February 18, 2017

Cowardice - "Without Condolence" 2016

COWARDICE - "Without Condolence"

Year: 2016
Genre: Sludge/Doom/Black
Country: USA

Track List:

  1. No Sovereignty
  2. The Tearing Down
  3. Synthetic Edens in a Crippled Will
  4. I Yield My Prayers
  5. Eroding Ethos
  6. Lower Tiers of Life

The debut album of this New Jersey project opens without pomp or ceremony into a harsh, grinding, distortion-heavy track called "No Sovereignty", which sets the tone for the album - grim, painful, lending a sense of hopeless emotional ache at the morbid wreck of modern society and refusing to apologise for its own bleakness. The second song, "The Tearing Down", seems to be something of a reprieve, with gentler tones, and an almost bluesy riffing, before the twilight descends again, building up into the same cascade of asphalt tones, of dying civilisations and agonising descent into a world of madness.

"Synthetic Edens in a Crippled Will" is back to a heavy blackened sludge, churning through visceral riffs, and an increased sense of desperation in the vocals and arrangements, more intensity building to a sudden drop-off into nothing. The transition to the only instrumental on the album, a surprisingly gentle guitar piece called "I Yield My Prayers", flows well, allowing a softer side of their sorrowful sound into the foreground, and contrasting the dull misery oozing from this album with a gentler, although not painless, track, more restrained than the rest of the album, but employing its relative calm to excellent effect.

"Eroding Ethos" builds slowly and mournfully, allowing a little more of the melody from "I Yield My Prayers" to weep through, but this time in the setting of their more usual sludgy style. The guitar work is intricate and rewarding, and harsh vocals, a little more sparse on this track, rend through the mix beautifully. "Lower Tiers of Life" is an enthralling finale, the longest track on the album at over twelve minutes, atmospheric and moody as it draws through rises and falls, building further with each, perfectly encapsulating the mood and feel of the album in one apocalyptic movement.

"Without Condolence" has a feeling of liveness to it, and I can imagine the intensity and pain of the tracks conveying even better in small-venue concerts - definitely a band to see, if you're in their area. Speaking of which, the guitarist of the band, Julian Cardazone, informed me that they're seeking artists with a similar sound to work on one or more splits with them, so if you enjoyed the album as much as I did, and you want to work with them, either contact the band directly through their bandcamp or Facebook (both of which I've included links to above), or email me and I'll put you in touch. Beyond that I can only reiterate that I really enjoyed the album, and I recommend you give it a listen and support the band. I think we can expect interesting things from them in future.

T.G.

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