Sorxe’s brand of sludge metal has always been a compelling one. On this latest album the band’s psychedelic and experimental mix of post-metal and sludge returns to the territories of their debut album more than their second album did, and overall manages to mix the strengths from both into a cohesive and engrossing whole. At 54 minutes in length it’s almost a full 20 minutes longer than Matter & Void, so my quibbles at the lack of material on their last release are absent here. The Ark Burner is the perfect length for what it delivers, and offers many gems across its running time.
The music is layered and dark, offering bleak soundscapes and apocalyptic atmosphere, but without straying too far into negative territories. The music is diverse and involved, while also having a relatively simple core that serves the band well. The songs are constructed around feeling and an emotive heart, despite whether that means anger or woe. Well-written, there’s a lot to enjoy here.
Unorthodox melodies accompany you as you take the strange and unusual journey into Sorxe’s lands. Harsh aggression and restrained mood mix and merge with sometimes unexpected consequences. At one moment you may be crushed by ferocious riffs, while at another you may be hypnotised by a repetitive bass line. The transition between the two is frequently smooth and sometimes almost invisible. Textured and multifaceted, both the music and the vocals provide the listener with much to get their teeth into, and The Ark Burner never fails to hold attention.
As previously noted in past reviews, a debt to the post-metal triumvirate of Isis, Cult of Luna, and, notably, Neurosis is owed, but Sorxe are talented enough to add to this legacy, rather than simply plagiarising it; Sorxe have produced something of real worth here. Providing an entire world of highly engaging soundscapes to become lost in, this album is worth spending much time exploring.
Very highly recommended.