Pale Misery’s Black Candles and Gutter Scum is dark, with a heavy dose of both early and more recent Darkthrone with added fuzz and a really hefty bottom. The crust elements are clearly prevalent throughout, and there are some really interesting effects here and there, such as on the second track “Live Fast and Die.” This is a heavy record, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, sometimes atmospheric, but always pretty damn good.
I really love the bass sound on this record. Think “Big Business” and a bit of the “Melvins” in more of a metal context. Bassist Thorn Letulle gives one of the top recorded bass performances I’ve heard in 2019. Drummer Garret Cantu compliments the bass perfectly. Honestly, the sound overall is crusty and bleak, but thankfully this band doesn’t use the tiresome “intentionally sound like garbage” techniques made famous by some of those early second wave Norwegian bands.
Cantu’s drums were actually recorded in a wood shop in an attempt to capture rich harmonic sound. Similarly, Letulle used custom built speaker cabinets to get his very prominent and unique sound. It totally works here and the guitar work of Jacob Neu rounds out these very-well-crafted six songs.
Vocals take many cues from early second wave black metal, yet are a bit more pronounced in the mix. This higher level in the mix works really well for this band. And, honestly, for a crusty record like this, it’s engineered particularly well.
All in all, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received this record. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by its bleakness and dark soundscapes, but, found it painfully catchy at the same time. Keep an eye on these guys.
Pale Misery’s Black Candles and Gutter Scum is now available. Order here.