This is my first encounter with New York City’s Batillus, and it isn’t at all what I expected. Don’t believe everything you read, children. Unfounded comparisons to bands like Ministry, Pitchshifter, and Godflesh had me anticipating a fistful of Industrial Metal. In truth, this quartet’s sound couldn’t be more organic. To be fair, these guys do go about their business in a cold, unfeeling, mechanical manner, with a thick smear of urban decay that can’t help but recall the grimy feel of early Godflesh, but what I’m hearing is far more Doom-based, with Sludge undertones and occasional Blackened tint. A very natural drum sound and a pure, heavy-as-fuck guitar tone are welcome surprises, indeed. This band’s modus operandi is minimalism on top of minimalism while minimalism watches. They tend to latch onto a simplistic drone and ride it until the wheels fall off. Doing more with less, as Fade Kainer’s tortured snarl swirls around the proceedings like a pack of hungry wolves encircling the wounded. If Concrete Sustain has one flaw, it’s that its soulcrushed, meditative vibe is significantly more memorable than any of its actual songs. A lot like the day after filthy, drunken sex with a random barwhore, you remember it being good but can’t seem to recall specific details. I get the sense on album #2 that this fresh act is still finding its feet. I’d like to hear more of the Deathly, bestial rumble found on “Beset.” I’d like to see them expand on the Helmet influence that permeates “Rust.” I’d like to hear more of the haunting, somber melancholy that graces “Thorns.” I believe they have the ability to craft spells within their ominous, hollow void. I think their best songs may yet be closely ahead of them. Still, few albums will set a better tone for a night of cheap vodka and prescription medication abuse in the dark. A very easy 37 minutes for the heavy-hearted, hopeless and broken to get lost in.
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