The concept behind Yerûšelem is a lot simpler to the ear than the accompanying bio makes the proceedings out to be. And it doesn’t poke the hornet’s nest of cynicism nearly as much. The Sublime is the debut album by this new project which sees Vindsval (guitar/bass/vocals/synths) and W.D.Feld (industrial pulses/synths) of Blut Aus Nord indulging their industrial metal and dystopian soundscape fantasies. However, to read the descriptive material sent by the band’s label, Debemur Morti Productions, you’d think this pair of gentlemen not only discovered an entirely new and novel genre of music but built their own rocket ship and blasted themselves into space to record the album on the surface of an undiscovered planet they stumbled across in their spare time. This, after figuring out a cure for cancer, reversing climate change, scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro without climbing gear and tallying up a triple-double against a starting five of Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James.
So, where it states “The Sublime is a world of interlocking miniatures, music in which a familiar centre has collapsed and been restructured into new forms, where ghosts are created by absence,” and when trying to decode the truth behind the hyperbole in “incalculable vastness of contemplation within…a congruent melding of powerfully bass-heavy clank and grind…stark neo-gothic guitar leads with intimations of fusion… freshness-into-fetid-air experimentation, post-punk urbanity, psychedelic dreamgaze, subterranean industrial pulses and the crunching rhythmic crispness of modernist electronica,” please don’t go into this thinking The Sublime is the musical equivalent of whatever was in the Pulp Fiction briefcase. Or dismiss it based on hyper-lofty expectations no album could ever amount to.
Brass tacks: Yerûšelem is essentially doing what Justin Broadrick and G.C. Green made a career within Godflesh. The mighty ‘flesh has, over the course of four decades, spanned from the sounds of factory wastelands and automated drill presses to the forehead to measured and plodding soundscapes that flirted with melodic washes and borderline rock music. And this is what Yerûšelem does, for the most part, over the course of the nine songs on The Sublime.
The bass drips with a distorted low end which commandeers the vigorous, driving feel with a broken quarter-note flavor bordering on old school hip-hop swing (don’t be surprised if “Triiiunity” ends up being sampled on both the next Dälek and Kool Keith albums). The drum machine spits out the beats with ancient sounds akin to the battle scenes in the first Terminator movie. The layers basted atop the rhythmic pulse aren’t so much melodies and riffs as they are cybernetic cascades of sonic architecture. There are times the noise—for lack of a better term—is sculpted into recognizable and repeating patterns (“Babel”). Other times it’s on par with the sound-as-a–weapon materials the military uses in interrogations.
Expect that old fans of Godlfesh and albums like Pure, Selfless and Streetcleaner will happily soak up these waves. Some will hear how songs like the title track and “Joyless” put a positive spin on an old friend. On the other hand, suspected terrorists being held in Guantanamo – didn’t Obama say they were going to shut that place down? – and all your norm-core friends will experience something like “Autoimmunity” as utter torture. And if Jesu, old Young Gods, the first couple Treponem Pal albums and pre-major label White Zombie and Cop Shoot Cop turn your crank, you’re bound to find some interesting melodic air shifting going on in “Eternal” and “Reverso.”
Overall, as familiar as the blueprint is, what The Sublime ends up being is a quite welcome addition to the more irascible side of a well-loved subgenre of metal.