One of the best things about the long time I spent in Shanghai surely was the opportunity to discover bands that would have been very difficult to know otherwise. Among the many shows seen in that period, I have a particularly fond memory of Death To Giants, the unlikely duo consisting of Ivan Belcic and Ming Nichols. I admit I had kind of lost them over the last few years, but I was very happy to find the name of Belcic in Kosmogyr’s lineup, when Bosj told me “Eviternity” had arrived on our desks.
In the meantime, the musician from the United States has moved to Prague and seems to have closed his previous project The Machinery Of Other Skeletons. However, his love for complicated things brought him to cooperate with guitar/bass player Xander Cheng, based in Shanghai. You might be wondering: how come such an unusual project ended up being published by Flowing Downward, a sublabel of Avantgarde Music? It’s quite simple: it’s a devastating blow.
“Eviternity” is a hell of an album, in all of its aspects. The cover artwork itself is a great example of abstract expressionism (by Larissa Belcic), giving us an idea of what’s to come. Both in terms of imagery and music, the first reference that came to my mind was Krallice (coincidentally, also distributed in Europe by Avantgarde Music) with their hectic black metal.
Our journey through Eviternity opens with the instrumental track “Sui Generis”, before entering a whirlwind of utter destruction (“The Wane” and “Frailty” are two perfect examples). The atmospheres at times reminded me of Alda, also in their way of conjugating instrumental sections — such as the fascinating “Refulgence” — with the cosmic distortions of the great title track. While listening to this record, I have frequently found myself in another dimension, a state of consciousness real and concrete, but at the same time wider in the cosmos, something like what happens in Saint Seiya. This feeling brought to my mind the so-called transcendental black metal theorized by Liturgy, which Belcic and Cheng seem to have made theirs (I don’t know if willingly) with great mastery.
Apart from screamed vocals, there’s also room for several incursions in growl by the solid Belcic (“Vision”), who also took care of drums programming, while Cheng played guitars and bass. “Eviternity” is a very solid record that highlights all the main strengths of this complicated project, existing between continents and proud of its own network of collaborators spread across the world (especially in China). In this sense, it’s very interesting to give a try to the electronic remixed version of the album, realized with the support of such names as Nahash and King Necro.