Heed the presence of This Station of Life, it will serve you well, as you’ll want to witness some of the most interesting black metal of 2012; helmed by the anonymous “Master”, this year the one man project expanded into a full band with three, again anonymous, members. While many of the best BM of the year has seen bands crafting sprawling epic dirges of melancholy or misanthropy (see Merkaba, Barghest and Ash Borer), This Station of Life subscribe to a different method. This may be their first full-length but it’s seven songs clocking in at less than 15 minutes. Terribly short, it still has a lot going on in it but it’s still a deluge of raw black metal.
Released by Michigan-based cassette label Colloquial Sound Recordings, Plastic Fire is another impressive feather in the label’s cap, who has been releasing some pretty evocative black metal demos and splits over the last year or two, most notably by A Pregnant Light and Dressed in Streams, and of course, This Station of Life’s searing Antithetic demo tape.
While still raw black in most aspects, this tape also fraternises with some eerie melody that counteracts the non-production on the vocals, which are buried deep beneath the blasts and muddled guitar assaults. Take a track like ‘My Hunger’, the last song, where the vocals are almost non-existent but the riffs are almost… catchy. In fact, it’s a lead riff that wouldn’t sound too out of place on a Deafheaven track. All the while, you have the likes of ‘The Passion Gesture’, which is just heaving with a punky callousness. It’s this dichotomy that makes this entity, and this tape, so interesting.
The short running time is both to its benefit and detriment. First, it’s concise with no filler but second, it leaves behind a huge void, yearning to be filled. More please.