Surachai – Come, Deathless

There are certain electronic artists who have logical crossover appeal with metal fans; Merzbow and Prurient immediately come to mind, as well as industrial-leaning acts like Author and Punisher. Yet, there are other purveyors of dark electronics whom I’ve always felt should have more fans in the metal community, specifically Autechre. The duo’s abrasive, rumbling assaults feel very much in line with what attracts people to metal while also offering a distinctly electronic sound.

Come, Deathless is yet another example of this proud tradition of dark, heavy electronic music perfectly suited for metal fans. Autechre is the easiest parallel, but with their latest record, Surachai exhibit a unique voice all their own that touches on IDM, glitch, dark ambient and more. It’s exploratory and destructive at the same time, traversing through dense, detailed soundscapes and introducing regular chaotic bursts of kinetic energy. Space-themed melodies glistening from ambient mist can suddenly evaporate to make way for rumbling, bass-heavy pulses of beats and noise.

The Autechre vibes are especially strong on “Empress of the Starved Lung,” though Surachai employs a bit of a more electro-inspired vibe. The beat and syncopated melody thumps with immense sonic weight, though the synth tone and melodies feel almost club-inspired. It might not be the most danceable composition, but it strikes an intriguing emotional chord and subsequently feels both catchy and punishing. Conversely, “Casts of Broken Timelines” is focused solely on being as aggressive as possible, with rapidfire drum patterns barely piercing through a thick wall of tense, dismal noise. And of course, there’s some all out noise assaults on the album, with “An Unfamiliar Reflection Activates A Gate” being a particularly noteworthy cut due to its tribal, thunderous beat.

“An Abandoned Throne in the Hall of Extinction” approaches the album’s noise-fueled tendencies in a unique way, what with the track ultimately taking on a lighter, ambient nature by its conclusion. The journey is a perfect encapsulation of the album, what with the marriage of melody and darkness being the crux of what makes the compositions feel so impenetrable yet enticing. Still, the wholly melodic conclusion “Time Splits Every End” remains the album’s greatest highlights with each subsequent listen. A roaring backdrop of melancholy ambiance is accented by a clean synth sequence. The melody actual serves as a foundation despite being the more direct element, as the unraveling of the backing wall of ambiance is captivating throughout.

Not to contradict my initial point, but Come, Deathless is a thoroughly enjoyable album regardless of your relationship with metal and electronic music. There’s certainly a great deal here that will appeal to metal fans, but from on a track-to-track basis, Surachai demonstrates that their compositional and exploratory prowess transcend a mere “gateway musician” tag. Whatever your musical interests may be, Surachai offers undeniable sonic quality that should appeal to listeners looking for textured soundscapes replete with emotionally crushing material.

Come, Deathless is available on Jan. 25 via BL_K Noise.

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