Saturday, June 16, 2012

TENTACLE - 'Void Abyss'

When the Ice Dragon sleeps, the Tentacle will writhe…

Tentacle, the alter-ego of Boston psychedelic doom outfit, Ice Dragon, play an ominous, dirge-like variation of doom that is as hypnotic as it is malevolent. While the tunes on ‘Void Abyss’ are not too far removed from what Ice Dragon would create production-wise, thematically the songs are darker, doomier, and barren exemplified by song titles such as “Ram-Headed Serpent”, “Talking, Bending, Dripping, Breaking”, or “The Ruler of All Space and Time” which could have easily of sprung from the imagination of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Each of the four tunes of this e.p. (five, including a hidden track) could easily slither, burrow, and intermingle amongst the tracks of any of the Ice Dragon releases, but collectively they form an entirely different philosophy altogether.

‘Void Abyss’ is a self-released compact disc limited to one hundred copies or available as a download via Bandcamp. The c.d. sleeve is beautifully illustrated by Adam Burke with an image that accurately captures the essence of the songs it contains: a lone, tentacle-enveloped spire of rock emerging from the sea under a moonlit sky. Like any of the Ice Dragon releases, Tentacle is not afraid to experiment or push its brand of noisy, lo-fi doom to the extreme. ‘Void Abyss’ is not easy or casual listening, but for those with an ear for sparse, murky, minimalist psychedelia with drone-like inclinations they will be well rewarded. In many ways the production utilized by both Ice Dragon and Tentacle is better suited for the latter incarnation due to its harsh, bitter approach. Listeners are urged to wait patiently for the hidden track to kick in long after album closer “The Ruler of All Space and Time” has ended. The bonus track, an album highlight, startles the listener with its initial roar, but ultimately it soothes due to the odd emotional quality that seems to separate it from the previous four tracks.

Hopefully, Tentacle is not just an indulgence or whim of a band experimenting with its core sound. This offshoot band offers enough of a departure to necessitate its existence and ‘Void Abyss’ does not come across as a collection of Ice Dragon outtakes. Those already familiar with Ice Dragon will undoubtedly be able to hear some similarities but those with a discerning ear will be able to truly appreciate this release…9/10.

Words: Steve Miller
(Originally published at Doommantia)



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