Lee Buford of The Body, Kristin Hayter of Lingua Ignota, and Dylan Walker of Full of Hell are no strangers to working with one another. They’ve all been in each other’s projects at some point or another and all three are heavy forces in the metal/experimental music fields. Doom, classical, operatic, grind, death metal, industrial, noise—each contributor has been involved in head-turning music.
Sightless Pit is the newest project amongst the three—they’ve collaborated with one another before, why not band together and write an album? The three have some amazing chemistry and have showcased some show-stopper tracks on each other’s albums. According to their press release, „Grave of a Dog was crafted without any clear rules or guidelines beyond their desire to work with one another. The central pillar to what coheres the three into a unified voice throughout the album is a shared bleak vision of existence and a willingness to follow each other into bold new territory.“ Hard to argue with that sort of drive behind the project.
Grave of a Dog’s opening track “Kingcorpse” howls to life with Hayter’s gorgeous, haunting voice, evoking a cemetery-like vibe and a noise-addled, electronic background to boot. It might jog some memories of Ascending A Mountain of Heavy Light or Full of Hell’s track “Armory of Obsidian Glass.” Furthermore, this track sounds like it would sit comfortably in any of the members’ projects. This album exactly what one would expect from the trio. And for anyone who was hoping this day would come, those people probably won’t feel let down.
On its own merits, Grave of a Dog is a heavy, haunting chunk of electronic industrial noise. Thick in atmosphere but seldom does the album reach out and take one by the throat. The idea for Sightless Pit here isn’t a nail-tearing horror, it’s more soaked in subtleties; like something that lurks beneath the surface or wooden boards that creak in the pitch-black night. Loaded as that sounds, it is what this is in a lot of ways.
The problem with this album is things never feel like they’re soaring beyond good. It’s not atonal, it’s not lacking creativity and Sightless Pit play well enough. But nothing stands out once the needle leaves the wax. It is a good listen. The moments that usually rattle the bones the most are when Hayter is weaving her ghostly voice over the procession are its peak. “Violent Rain,” for example, opens with her operatics as anxious, mechanical heartbeat thuds in the background. Walker moves in with a wet scream that never quite hits the rabid scale but is effective enough. The track remains downtrodden and minimalistic—noise moving in and out as the thud marches on.
Grave of a Dog feels like a continuation of the parties involved, and that’s fine, but it’s not pushing any envelopes. It’s not boring but it’s not particularly engaging most of the time. Grave of a Dog almost feels more like it could be a soundtrack to some really cool short film. Ultimately, we are given a noisy culmination. It’s an enjoyable, extremely listenable album. What could have taken us to the mountains of madness, instead takes us to the precipice of familiarity for better or worse.
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