Chasms – On The Legs Of Love Purified (2016)
Despite being a relatively brief encounter, Chasms manage to mesmerize the listener with On The Legs Of Love Purified, a darkly beautiful album that occasionally dives into the realms of pervasive industrial harshness. The San Francisco duo of Jess Labrador and Shannon Sky Madden craft their particular brand of gloomy, doom-laden shoegaze with a style all of their own.
References to Liz Fraser/Cocteau Twins/This Mortal Coil are easy to point out, yet only slightly relevant. The aforementioned doom prominence elevates Chasms to much darker realms and the industrial presence exudes a much harsher reality. However, far from being oppressive, Chasms’ intricate melodies and Jess Ladrador’s enchanting vocal create a black velvet blanket of comforting noise that rewards repeated listens. “Black Ice” has an insistent rhythm, joined by a clean guitar line before a distorted guitar tone takes over for the chorus, all enveloped eloquently by Jess’s vocals. “We’ll Go” takes a more ethereal approach, with a very much more downtempo vibe and ghostly feel. Immense.
The industrial influence strikes on “Come To Harm” – a definite highlight on the album. A slow, mechanically churning drum and a rumbling, distorted bass groove provide the foundation to this eerily heavy track. Jess Ladrador’s ghostly vocal again in stunning form. The song erupts into industrial chaos with a tightly programmed drum section before the climax ensues with an enveloping menace. Devastatingly great. And the greatness continues with “Intimacy”, its shimmering guitar line conveying the album’s sombre atmosphere masterfully. Possibly saving the best for last, instrumental track “Between The Eyes” closes On The Legs Of Love Purified with an emotional and spine-tingling intensity that should be cherished in days of soulless, superficial nonsense.
An Incredible album, highly recommended. Available from the wonderful Felte label here.