Two years since their eponymous 12″ – Blackest Ever Black’s first release – sounded a mandate-like synthesis of late ’70s industrial gloom, palsied techno and burned-out breakbeats with a gothic elan, they’ve come to epitomise the label’s aesthetic whilst remaining its most elusive, enigmatic operators, flitting from surround sound installations to chastening mixtapes and now this monolithic LP. In that time, their ambitions have remained steadfast yet progressed in parallel with BEB’s: as the roster grew to incorporate Regis, Cut Hands, Young Hunting, Black Rain, Vatican Shadow and Pete Swanson, they’ve stealthily revealed scarred instrumental flesh like some kind of sickening, self-abusing striptease.
When we first heard them it was what we always wanted dubstep to become (before it predictably lapsed into bad hands), but with ‘Quarter Turns Over A Living Line’ they’re so far beyond that, carving out something as close to doom metal as dub, divining wrinkles in space-time between the helical torques of post-punk and jungle. At its entry point ‘Passing Over Trail’, Ambarchi-esque sub-tonal quakes instil an eschatological atmosphere which remains unbroken ’til close, luring curious souls through the tantric, versioned vortex of ‘The Last Foundry’ and the funereal procession of ‘Soil And Colts’ to the queasy sensuality and quasi-step dynamics of ‘Exist In The Repeat Of Practice’ at its watershed apex. From here the descent takes a new course with quite possibly our favourite Raime track to date, ‘The Walker In Blast And Bottle’; hanging plunging bass guitar strikes and demonic, ultra-wide wails from a rusty cowbell hook which scrapes its way up the track’s spine.
The role of power is then promptly switched to haptic, whiskey-fingered guitar, flaying a petrifying desert doom refrain against hob-nailed wooden percussion to leave us in a puddle of our own piss before ‘The Dimming Of Road And Rights’ resolves to eat its own tail, poised at the crossroads of keening, Earth-like strings, dawn-seeping pads and prison bar percussion. It’s practically one of the greatest movies you’ve ever heard, and articulated with a sense of gnostic responsibility and obligation implying that basically everyone else needs to up their game, seriously, before its all too late.