Review: SPURN – “At the Precipice of Excitation”


Canadian dissonant metal act Spurn returns with their most brooding and mangled effort to date, At the Precipice of Excitation.

Picking up where their grimy 2016 debut, Comfort in Nothing, left off, At the Precipice of Excitation takes the twisted, unorthodox sounds of its predecessor and disfigures them further. The band’s bastardized mix of grindcore, death metal, and sludge sprawls, suspends, and squalls across a quick, but far from painless, thirty-minute runtime. The album lies writhing in the dark between the filth hardcore of Crowpath, the obtuse lurches of Ulcerate, and the mathematical grit of early Gaza and Coalesce material. Fans of any of the acts above, or fans of being psychologically brutalized, are advised to take note.

“Clapping Seals” opens the record three explosive bursts of groaning guitar bends before embarking on a two-minute barrage of squealing chaos. The absolutely tortured instrumentation bends and shifts in uncomfortable, hellacious ways, and strews painfully ugly riffs and caustic harmonics about haphazardly. From there, “Glioblastoma” comes crashing in to bludgeon the listener with its off-kilter, blood-soaked sludge. The guitars growl and stomp within ever-changing, ever-complicated rhythms that keep the listener on edge, and properly discombobulated and bruised. This one-two punch is only the beginning, as there is much more punishment to experience.

“Confusing Ignorance for Innocence” sees the return of the aberrated sludge, but with sprawling sections of spacial dissonance whose haunting pseudo-melodies hang above the listener like slowly descending scythes. The following track, “Eating the Rich in Self Defense,” delivers equal amounts of lurching doom and ripping noisecore in three minutes. Its sludgy, Lovecraftian tentacles constrict around the listener and then rapidly pulls them apart by way of explosions of razorwire riffs.

The album’s penultimate track, “Pushing the Flat Earthers Off the Earth,” wastes no time bringing the hurt with its quickly shifting displays of chugging menace, nauseating grooves, and ear-splitting noise beatdowns. The album closes with a creeping, mutilated rendition of Tom Waits‘ “Hoist That Rag,” which is the surprising highlight of the entire full-length.

In short, Spurn‘s At the Precipice of Excitation is a gloriously ugly, dark, and grinding good time.

Rating: 8/10
Release Date: July 26, 2019
Label: Independent
Favorite Tracks: “Clapping Seals,” “Glioblastoma,” “Eating the Rich in Self Defense,” “Pushing the Flat Earthers Off the Earth,” and “Hoist That Rag”
For Fans Of: Crowpath, Gaza, Helpless, Ulcerate, Maruta, and Coalesce

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