This is the debut album from Belgian sludge/post-metal band Predatory Void.
Featuring current and ex-members of Amenra, Carnation, Living Gate, Cobra the Impaler, Oathbreaker, and Aborted, Seven Keys to the Discomfort of Being is a 43-minute multifaceted trip into extreme metal darkness.
Seven Keys to the Discomfort of Being is a hard album to categorise. As I’ve stated in the past, I love these hybrid styles that appear now and again that don’t fit neatly anywhere; they almost always turn out to be something special, and this is exactly true for this record. For a, (relatively), simplistic description, I’d go with a post-metal/doom album with bursts of extreme metal and avant-garde expression, all coming together loosely under the umbrella of blackened sludge metal, which allows for the span of the different material types here.
Seven Keys to the Discomfort of Being is an album that takes a range of influences into itself, to produce a non-standard album of extremity. Doom, sludge, death metal, hardcore, black metal, and post-metal all collide together and are ably sorted and restrained into their respective roles within the music; the band members have a wide breadth of experience, and are able to channel the various influences into music that delivers a compelling journey into their vision for heaviness.
And heavy this is. Very heavy, albeit of a textured variety that has many different ingredients. Think of a combination of different aspects of bands such as Ilsa, Converge, Emma Ruth Rundle, Amenra, King Woman, Esoteric, Ulcerate, Oathbreaker, and Thou, and you’ll have a rough idea of the ground covered by Seven Keys to the Discomfort of Being.
Predatory Void are versatile with their extremity. Running from scathingly brutal intensity and blistering fiery aggression through to colossal mountains of doom and post-metal resplendence, each song here is a world unto itself. Moments of lighter introspection appear amidst the heaviness, but it’s primarily a heavy, dark affair. Atmosphere is built and cast aside easily, depending on the needs of the music at any given time. Dissonance is used as an enhancement, rather than the main event.
The songs are very well-written, demonstrating a mastery of the multi-influence approach that’s disarming. Predatory Void create heavy music that’s compelling and affecting, and do so with style and substance. The overarching feeling is of a work drenched in both crushing doom and harsh aggression, portrayed through the lens of raw emotion.
Seven Keys to the Discomfort of Being is simply an essential listen for any fan of individual and idiosyncratic extreme metal. This is a work of blackened post-metal/sludge art.