So, one of the strangest touring packages I’ve seen in a good while was WINO & XASTHUR a few years back. Granted, gone were all elements of black metal from what Scott Connor and his guitar compadre, Joe Baker were doing there, at that dive bar in Nashville, TN, so maybe it wasn’t that outlandish after all. All he needed was a cowboy hat, right? Well, over XASTHUR’s set, I was reminded of what a good guitarist he actually is. And now, a few years after, Connor returns with the sprawling Inevitably Dark, recorded solo and on a Tascam DP-03.

‘Affect/Infect’ flirts with the black metal XASTHUR decreed was finished over ten years ago, but it’s the man’s prerogative, and begins the first disc with a carnival ride aspect, yet controlled by a demon, so, you know, as the old barkers used to say “You pays your money, and you takes your chances.”. ‘A Future To Fear’ bathes in dungeon synth and drum machines for the first couple minutes or so, then miasmic vocal chorus winds, haunting yet harkening in the enervating quality of it all, a call to disease…or from it?

Pastoral almost, and conjuring the image of the title perfectly, ‘Euphoric Bad Trip’ is SANDROSE or SYD BARRETT coming down, but not too hastily, head in the haze, wandering lost through the fields of delirium. Conversely, ‘Another Gutter’ sounds disjointed, Japanese body horror in musical form, scattered and skirmishing with itself, parts that shouldn’t be combining with parts that welcome the dysmorphia, a perfect example of XASTHUR of 2023.

Frigid, phantasmic and somewhat recalling GOBLIN or TANGERINE DREAM’s darker moments, ‘Blizzard Inside A Coma’ chills, while ‘Hellrot’ melds churlish death metal guitar to grunt and gravel, bits of industrial being toyed with in the rhythms.

At 23 songs, there’s going to be a lot some longtime fans and newcomers alike wince at, as such a deep and acute journey into mental illness simply isn’t for everyone. And yet, sometimes psychosis and serenity walk closely together, there are gems found in sewers as well as sanctuaries. And this is where Inevitably Dark succeeds.
Review By: Lord Randall

Inevitably Dark
Prophecy Productions / Lupus Lounge