Silence by RorcalRelease date: September 29, 2023
Label: Hummus Records/Sludgelord Records
Rorcal is not a band that has ever stood still, with each release comes somewhat of a surprise as to what they are going to deliver. From crushing blackened post-hardcore to drone, doom and sludge the band has covered so much ground in its illustrious career but always united in the themes of darkness and displeasure. With its sixth album Silence, Rorcal is at its most brutally bleak with an utterly blasting eight tracks which pummels away pain, suffering and misery in an endurance race run at the speed of a sprint.
If that sounds tiring, well it is probably supposed to be. Quite like LLNN, This Gift Is A Curse or Celeste, Rorcal sits right on the edge of utter darkness and at times saturates the space with battering drums and furious guitar and bass work. Even the song titles offer nothing but hopelessness and yet somehow there is enough air to breathe. The band ends most of the songs here with a soft drone which leads into the following track and refreshes between onslaughts but also leaves a harbouring feeling of suspense. Having said how abrasive, claustrophobic and uncomfortable this album can be there are still songs that stretch to near eight and ten minutes without plunging the listener into dissillusion.
‘Extinguished Innocence’ is a second or two short of eight minutes and it’s riveting as it somehow blasts an atmosphere of containment on the listener even when the band settles from its previous onslaught. The opening three track run of ‘Early Mourning’, ‘Childhood Is A Knife In The Throat’ and ‘The Worst In Everything’ is relentless and slugging. While ‘Extinguished Innocence’ and ‘Hope Is A Cancer’ may feel like they offer a reprieve, the atmosphere is still dense and oppressive even when the singer hangs on a positive vocal sound, much like LLNN, Rorcal can be equally terrifying when they aren’t going flat out heavy.
Muladona was rightly hailed as an exemplary album and Silence doesn’t even try and better it, it batters and hacks away at the fibre of brightness almost trying to block out the entire sun. The riffs sound heavier, the drums unrelentingly present and the vocals pour the emotion of the song names over the unfurling music. Will there be a heavier album that outdoes Silence this year? I would be impressed. Silence feels like your own worst fears performing an exorcism on themselves to lift the burden and pain. It is remarkably bleak yet gloriously enjoyable.