‘Sicarivallio’ lumbers in, electronic and intent, headphones encouraged, because you’re instantly swallowed in the sound conjured forth by NETHERLANDS on its 9th search for sonic Nirvana. “Swallowed”, because no kind, calming word such as “swaddled” or “wrapped” will do. Shriek and flail, mixing and tossing against each other of disparate elements, creating a Golem of aural form.

Herky-jerky and convulsive, ‘Swimming Dog’ pounds the sense, yet undeniable melodicism broils lava-hot and sugary sweet beneath the service. Elements of proto-punk TELEVISION before Verlaine and Hell had their falling out, ‘Omisha’ as syncopated, if possible, even more beguiling with the vocal melody. It’s moments like this that confirm “progressive sludge” has been given life, is something one doesn’t come across often and, as such, should be paid mind.

The title track swerves and swings, and there’s something menacing, as with a fair amount of Timo Ellis & co.’s work under the NETHERLANDS moniker, and ‘Blue Whale’ snaps with the jagged angst of early UNSANE one moment, languidly swims as its namesake the next, all points of this Pollock painting converging, like it or not, more often than not.

A woodchipper of a track, ‘Glow Stick’ fires skronk and tech beats hither and yon, MELT- BANANA and its harshest, but more so and this is likely the only time you’re likely to read of the Japanese noise stalwarts as a reference on this site, but that’s exactly the mood invoked here. As abrasive as Severance has been to this point, ‘Silencio’ is soulful, plaintive and ethereal in the style of PORTISHEAD, but groovy ala the much-missed BLACK BOX RECORDER.

‘Celia’s Mansion’ concludes, NETHERLANDS seemingly having decided to bring our wearied ears to a soft landing overall, and damned if this haunting, winsome surf-tinged guitars and strangely “standard” soulful arrangement blended with cathartic riffing haven’t got yours truly already looking forward to pressing the Play button again soon. Not for everyone, to be sure, but Severance is likely – and regrettably – an album that won’t be heard by a good many that would actually appreciate it.
Review By: Lord Randall

Svart Records