Originally released as a super limited, hand made cd-r, now finally available as a proper cd, with all new artwork, remastered, and with TWO bonus tracks not on the original cd-r. Skip down to the end of the review for a bit about the bonus tracks, but before we get to that, here's what we had to say about the record when we first reviewed the cd-r:
The first thing that struck us about this debut release from Amocoma, a mysterious black metal horde from right here in San Francisco, was the cd-r cover art, a child-like pen and ink drawing of a pile of heads, but instead of being bloody or gory or horrific, they're sort of more cartoonish, like a whole slew of stick figures were decapitated, their heads tossed in a huge pile, beneath the scrawled band logo, wreathed in clouds of smeared ink. We were definitely intrigued. And if anything, once inside, we were even moreso...
Amocoma traffic in an ultra lo-fi, muddy murky blackness. It's definitely black metal, there is plenty of buzz and blast and howled vocals, but at the same time it's sort of stumbling and noise rocky, it's probably a little of both, but it's all rendered nearly indistinct by the incredibly FX drenched lo-fi production.
Beginning with dreamy swirls of soft focus harmonics and distant rumbles, it doesn't take long for the band to lurch into action, a simple hypnotic riff, looped over and over, almost sounding more like a bass than a guitar, and not so heavy as it is trancelike. The drums are mechanical and repetitive, the vocals are howled and swathed in reverb, spread out over the proceedings like a black cloud, so much so that at times they just sound like another layer of buzz. And the more you listen, the more pretty it sounds, sure it's raw and harsh, but the melody is so hypnotic, and the swirling clouds of distortion and reverb give everything a sort of soft focus shimmer.
We're definitely reminded of WOLD, in the sense that these little fragmented pop songs, are rendered black and buzzy by the application of super saturated distortion, tape hiss and amp buzz, reverb and delay, so even at its heaviest, it's washed out and abstract, and downright dreamy. The drone element is through the roof, and it's impossible not to hear Tim Hecker or Machinefabriek or any one of those masters of smeary dreamlike sound. At some points things get super psychedelic, like halfway through "Small Dark Sea That Was A Body" where the guitar drops out, leaving just the drums, to sort of pulse and putter in a wide open expanse of soft swirl, while drifting above are all manner of glistening guitar harmonics, spacey FX sparkles, and warm warbly melodic hum.
The tUMULt reissue tacks on two new tracks, the first, a brief three minute blur called "Crumbs", dense and chaotic, the vocals a processed bellow, buried beneath soaring saturated buzz, while all around swoop and swing furious tangles of fractured guitars and warm riffy blurs, which gives way to the nearly 12 minute closer "You Shall Yet Rise", which begins as a long sprawling creepscape, rife with synthesizer swells, and bits of crumblingly distorted guitars, it almost sounds like a black metallized Expo '70, spacey and tripped out, until the song suddenly lurches into an ultra poppy almost Viking sounding groove, all over driven and super distorted, hinting a bit at the pop that underpins much of Amocoma's blackness, the track swings wildly from corrosive blast to pounding almost doom, but stays wrapped around that weirdly fuzzy poppy galloping Maiden-y main riff, which stays looped, repeating mantra like, reminding us of a blackened Circle in fact, as the rest of the guitars get more and more tweaked and twisted. Even though it's a bonus track, this might just be one of our favorite tracks on the record!!!
Damaged and dreamy, freaked out and fucked, one of our new favorite slabs of black blurred beauty for sure...