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Is there really such thing as an unlikely location for a metal band to originate these days? Process of Guilt are natives of Portugal, but it's improbable that their alchemy of juggernaut sludge and minimalist post-metal was birthed through any geography other than the internet. In 2012 you can hear anything that's out there, and if having a strong local scene may steer some bands in a particular direction, groups hailing from spotty areas of musical concentration are just that much more likely to forge their own path. 

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FÆMIN sounds at once achingly familiar yet hard to place. There's a lack of deliberate structure at work, yet the disciplined, mechanistic percussion keeps the rest of the band from straying too far from a central theme. Unlike a lot of American sludge bands, the drums anchor all five of these lengthy tracks to an exigent mid-tempo, never wavering from their drone-like sense of patient deliberation.

Owing mostly to the unflagging uniformity of the backbeat, there is a palpable industrial undertone to the entire 43-minute running time. The drums themselves sound organic and completely analog, but the way in which they're utilized recalls old Godflesh and Scorn. Somehow this manages to avoid becoming boring or soporific, but rather contemplative, a moody cogitation upon catharsis that occasionally boils over into articulated fury. Introspective yet subtly threatening, Process of Guilt eschew both the jazzy instrumental interplay of most post-metal as well as the primal scream therapy of your average sludge, but in doing so create something more personal and enduring.

FÆMIN is out now on Division / Bleak Recordings.

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