Centuries of August by Petrine CrossRelease date: December 4, 2020
Label: Panurus Productions
1. The cross of St. Peter, the inverted cross.
2. Solo black metal project of Penance Stare’s Esmé Louise Newman.
I must confess, before I start this, that I know nothing about black metal. Please DO NOT expect me to tell you WHO this record sounds like, because I have no clue. I wouldn’t recognise a ‘blast beat’ if it came up to me and slapped me in the belly with a fish. To the best of my knowledge, Abbath is something to make gin in.
Why then, you might – not unreasonably – ask, am I reviewing this black metal record? Well, it would be rude not to, as the lovely James at Panurus Productions1 sent it to me, and he has a nice beard. And, anyway, why not? I’m a grown-up, and I am not afraid.
There’s really nothing to be gained by my describing each track of this record separately, in sequence or otherwise, as any one sounds much like any other. Rather, it ebbs and flows, alternating between bleak synth drones and even bleaker blasts of crackling distorted guitar filth and battering programmed drums. There are vocals, buried deep within the lacerating noise, incoherent shrieks and howls which may once have been words.
See, now, I’m a post-rock fan. I like post-rock because it has, usually, no words and it allows me to take whatever I want from it, or nothing at all. Equally, I don’t need to know what Centuries of August is about, but if you feel it necessary to have me assign a meaning to the sounds herein, I must refer to the press release. It is, it seems, a lament for the ‘passage and loss of time’, and a defiant shake of the fist at the sheer amount of nothing that we can do about it.
As I said earlier, I’m no black metal expert, but I love this record. I love its rage. It’s raw and relentless, but I still find some kind of serenity in the savage blur of noise. In its way, it’s just as calming as the gentlest of post-rock. It’s as if someone else has taken all of my frustration and helplessness and screamed it away into the void for me and has left me cleansed.
I feel abraded. Scoured. Scraped clean. You may now use my empty skull as a drinking vessel.
- Panurus biarmicus – a small bird, frequently referred to as the Bearded Tit. Make of that what you will.