Process of Guilt – Black Earth (Bleak Recordings/Division Records)Thursday, 7th September 2017
“Portuguese post-metal” sure rolls off the tongue, something we’d type more often if Process of Guilt released albums on a more frequent basis. The band was last heard from via 2012’s Fæmin, an album this scribe recalls as being unwilling to embrace the melodic aspects of the sound it was based upon. That would mean Process of Guilt operate in a perpetual Catch-22 with post-metal. They’re certainly fitting of such billing; there’s no wiggle room there. However, the band’s un-bendable, lack-of-finesse Black Earth (their fourth full-length) suggests Process of Guilt may need to re-think their formula.
Employing crunchy, swollen riffs that provide girth and chug like a freight train (see “Feral Ground”), Process of Guilt find themselves having to extend or over-play parts to compensate for their lack of dynamics. In turn, it creates an un-relenting sonic pile-on, giving pause to how the band may sound in the live spectrum. Never the matter, though, for the above-mentioned “Feral Ground” is a real mountain-mover, bubbling, volcanic, even, riding off basically one chug-a-thon riff. The change-up offered on “Servant” brings forth tribal beats and bass-beating, all bottled into an unseemly atmosphere. So again, where most post-metal bands would sprinkle in a careful, affecting melody, Process of Guilt have no inclinations of doing such things.
By the time the hefty title track and closing “Hoax” roll around, Process of Guilt have long settled into their anti-harmony approach. Black Earth never quite emerges from its grueling, no-color, no-melody stew, proving it’s post-metal with no light…ever.