Here we go a-fucking-gain. That’s it, after this one right here, I’m not reviewing anything with the word “ambient” in the one-sheet by choice for at least two weeks. I mean, all the boxes were ticked, in fairness to BRÆ. 40+ minute album, two songs clocking in at over 20 minutes apiece. Reverences to “faceless beings”, so on, and so forth. But “insane shrieks” and “raw” were mentioned, so there was hope I wasn’t going to end up in another DEAFHEAVEN album hearing critical darlings / Pitchfork dandies whine about their “feelings”.
As the lone piece on A Thousand Ways To End It All is simply divided in twain to comprise the album’s length, it’s more sensible to move through as it was most surely intended. Within the first minute of playing time the aforementioned “shrieks” arrive, the musical accompaniment at an almost lethargic, doomed crawl, reminiscent of FURZE at its most drippingly psychedelic. I’m sure the vocal cord rending taking place herein are heartfelt, and that the unnamed vocalist most definitely means what’s being said, just don’t try to interpret. Best to think of the vocals as simply another layer, another instrument in the cacophony being laid down by BRÆ. At around the halfway mark of the first movement, the purging ceases, notes drenched with vitae and hung, suspended in the air, swinging, as if on hooks through the flesh, and this is where we begin to see BRÆ as having put in the effort to learn how to do much with little.
From time to time in the latter half of the debut, the rhythm approximates an actual mid-tempo, and our shrieking banshee knows well enough to let the blizzard-blown guitars, the medieval fog fill the frigid chamber in which the debut was purportedly recorded, to great effect. Again, a strength for BRÆ as an entity.
Mostly downtrodden in execution, completely devoid of light, of hope, of redemption, but sonically nuanced, and never boring, A Thousand Ways To End It All shows a band at its start already leagues ahead of some of its elder relations.
Review By: Lord Randall
A Thousand Ways To End It All
3.5 / 6