SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE – RTZ (2009)

Six Organs of Admittance - RTZ Six Organs play a very desolate form of folk music, dark, windswept and apocalyptic, full of drones, uneasy, spastic guitar work and jittery percussion that sounds like the harbinger of something profoundly terrible. Iron & Wine or José González this is not. RTZ is a collection of six monumentally massive songs (the album closer, Creation Aspect Fire, runs for a comparatively tame 6 minutes), spread out across two discs, culled from long out-of-print split releases and Benjamin Chasny’s secret vault of unreleased material, all married together with his debut album, 1999’s Nightly Trembling.

In my previous review (for Zombi’s Spirit Animal), I wrote that the album is likely to try to the patience of some listeners. RTZ, by contrast, is likely to absolutely destroy it. Albums this vast and harrowing do not come out frequently; last year, the UK doom metal ensemble Esoteric released an album entitled The Maniacal Vale, which was equally monstrous in scope. Just listening to that album made me feel overwhelmed with the knowledge of the sheer musical density that lay before, but because Esoteric are so damn good, I slipped into the album anyways, devouring it.

I slipped into RTZ, as well – it’s easier to do than one might think. Even though Benjamin’s compositions here routinely stretch towards the twenty minute mark, they’re divided into several distinct sections that transition seamlessly, like an ever-shifting mirage in the distance. It’s these individual sections that will stick in your head (moreso than the songs as a whole): the pysch-rock acid-jam near the beginning of Punish The Chasm With Wings, the organ dirge in Warm Earth, Which I’ve been Told. The music, overall, doesn’t offer much in the way of variety (think of Shalabi Effect on a bender- that’s pretty much it), but it’s so uncompromisingly bleak that it doesn’t much matter.

I wouldn’t recommend this album to newcomers of Six Organs of Admittance; this is by far the band’s weightiest collection of material. I’d instead recommend either Shelter From The Ash or The Sun Awakens as a starting point. If you enjoy those, take a deep breath, and then give RTZ a listen. Remember: it’s not actually the end of the world. It only feels like it.

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