The creator behind Reconvalescent is a nameless Serbian who goes by the nom de plume of Vessel. ‘My identity is not important. What is important is my message. I am a vessel of information from a faraway galaxy similar to one you call Milky Way,’ says the mysterious composer. If this sounds strange, wait until you hear his EP.
The Progress of Nothing is incomparable to any artist, although you’ll enjoy identifying the many influences underneath the maelstrom of eerie ambient samples and dissonant layers of tension. Opener, ‘Cult of Solaria’ is like the calm onboard a submarine wreck at the bottom of the ocean after the death of the last crewmember. Follow up, ‘Consume Me’, will remind you of the title track from Faith No More’s Sol Invictus album, with a Tom Waits-esque soliloquy set to a cacophony of creeping noises and bubbling unease. We’re two songs in and still no nearer to understanding where this is going. Is this sinister trip-hop or dark ambient music?
The answer arrives at ‘Reconstructivist’. Now this is a monstrous slab of industrial metal like Decapitated covering Ved Buens Ende. No wonder people call Reconvalescent avant-garde. This is what we want the next Triptykon album to sound like – brutal, littered with subtle layers of noise effects, enhanced with crushed throat vocals. The transition to a double-kick drum pattern at the end is worthy of Greg Puciato’s debut solo record from last year. It might just be the heaviest thing you hear all year.
Of course, we cannot expect anything too similar on the next song. Perhaps the only predictable thing about The Process of Nothing is the lunacy of its ambition and its determination to avoid categorisation. Many artists will meet their end with such a bewildering approach, yet ‘I Will Show You Every Part of Me, Even the Darkest Ones’ makes an unlikely success of following a crushing metal song with eight minutes of intelligent dance music (IDM). The swirling synth patterns are hypnotic, like acid house legends, Sheer Taft, helping you to surmount your post-ecstasy comedown with an extended version of their legendary ‘Cascades’ single. Who doesn’t want an awesome chill vibe followed by a transition to Aphex Twin and Autechre halfway through a song? The Scream Blast Repeat readership may object. Is this not a metal publication? The answer is “yes” but wait until you hear the metal chugs at the end. How about Humanity’s Last Breath playing Orbital? It’s worth a listen for sheer curiosity, yet Reconvalescent show what can happen when you splice two unlikely genres together.
Vessel’s vocal performance on ‘Ghost of Stroy’ shows the composer is also adept at the dry throat rasp. This track is a cyber-punk puzzle coated in electronic subversion, and it’s almost as enjoyable as its predecessor. The soliloquy in the middle eight captivates like an incantation to summon the dead spirits of earth. Where the hell did that modulation into an Asphyx death-doom riff come from?, you’ll ask at 04.45 seconds.
It becomes clear we’re in the presence of a unique piece of art as the last volume swell of the title track brings things to a close. The phasing of the EP might be as perplexing as the multitude of genres in the mix, and the first two tracks are a poor indicator of what to expect for the remainder of the record, but The Process of Nothing never fails to captivate.
People can call it avant-garde, industrial metal or experimental, but it’s just as bewitching with any of those tags. The composer is lying when he says he’s from another galaxy, but there’s no doubt his music is from a place beyond the milky way.
Release Date: 29/01/2021
Record Label: Machine Man Records
Standout tracks: Reconstructivist; I Will Show You Every Part of Me, Even the Darkest Ones
Suggested Further Listening: Triptykon – Melana Chasmata (2014), Greg Puciato – Child Soldier: Creator of God (2020), Aphex Twin – Come to Daddy EP (1997)