Slain Thought – Acedia EP

Jason Mosheim returns with this sophomore EP after producing one of the most distinctive pieces of experimental metal last year with his debut Slain Thought record, A Failed Exorcism. We called his EP ‘a challenging and emotive record that defies categorisation,’ and stated that ‘this is how you compose avant-garde metal music.’ This time an injury to his finger forced him in a different direction with a new roster of records from John Zorn, Ikue Mori and US noise rock quartet, Chat Pile, providing the inspiration. His theme is the state of being known as acedia, where the torpor of extreme apathy causes the individual to abandon God and become indifferent to him. Though a departure from his debut EP, Acedia is no less unsettling and just as unique.

Ambient melodies light up the intro to opening track, ‘Tell Me Why the Flowers Died’, to the point where you think a new version of U2’s ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ will emerge from the stereo. Of course, the act of apostasy is no less dramatic and enlightening than the euphoria of experiencing righteousness with God. The denial of the soul can be an intellectual cleansing to those that disavow metaphysics, and Mosheim uses a glittering doom metal progression to celebrate his protagonist’s freedom from this burden. Listen how he shapes the feedback pitch of his guitar amps into a tuneful whistle as the bass guitar and drums carry the beat. This provides an additional layer to the noise-drenched guitar chords and turns the mood into a nervous one, where paranoia and relief mingle like wind and rain. Lingua Ignota is an obvious reference for the vibe of this music. The new Liturgy album operates in a similar expression of emotional anguish. Mosheim’s echo-driven spleen eruptions arrive at the end of the song when the instruments come to a halt. It’s a strange way to introduce the vocals.

You can hear improvisation at the margins of ‘25th Lucid Hour of Begging’. The opening lines shake with an incredulous “Oh, my God,” hysteria that neither laughs nor cries but does something in between. Call it shock. Like when you find out a close relative or friend died. Spasmodic percussion effects and the signature guitar ambience of Boris sketch the outlines of a song. These rely on spoken word and a half-formed black metal shriek. The latter wants to escape its snares but remains on the other side of the chasm between intent and execution. It leaves you agitated, but that’s the point.

John Zorn goes doom metal minus the saxophone on closing track, ‘Acedia (The Joyless Heart)’, but not before thirty seconds of copulating breath control prepare the ground for the fuzzy bass and amp feedback. Noise rock seldom sounds as evil or as misanthropic as this. “The holy light crawls upon me like urushiol/ Strangled by tradition, I don’t move anymore,” agonises Mosheim in the mind of his protagonist. This level of unnerving grief deserves another song to follow it and leaves you wanting more.  A post-climax instrumental of divine conjuration would be too obvious from the keyboard or organ, but we need something else to bring things to a close. Maybe, the purpose is to make the listener feel as apathetic as the person who finds comfort in acedia’s blackest hole (to quote Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers in their 1994 song, ‘Of Walking Abortion’.)

Mosheim admits this EP is a temporary left turn before he starts work on the next record, but you’ll find much to admire here. You might even discover a dormant guilt complex. Acedia is as dark as its title suggests.



Release Date: 10/03/2023

Record Label: Self Released

Standout track: Tell Me Why the Flowers Died

Suggested Further Listening: Liturgy – 93696 (2023), John Zorn – Spy vs Spy (1989), Lingua Ignota – Caligula (2019)