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Album Reviews : thedowngoing – ATHOUSANDYEARSOFDARKNESS

By on September 16, 2012

thedowngoing - ATHOUSANDYEARSOFDARKNESSI learnt what I needed to know about grindcore back in 2008, packed into ‘Maggotsville’ warehouse in Sydney’s inner west. I was there to see Insect Warfare, but Melbourne’s Agents of Abhorrence stole the show.

Their set was an intense and bewildering experience marked by feedback, short songs and high volume. They took no breaks between songs – slamming one track into the next. When they finished their set at a little under 16 minutes, the people around we were outraged. Why did they not play for longer?

Agents of Abhorrence tapped into the very essence of grindcore. They brought pure, unadulterated sonic fury; and maximised it’s impact by the stark delivery. They knew not to stick around long enough to become predictable, or for the audience’s senses to adjust to such a battering.

Sydney noise/grind duo thedowngoing understand something similar. Their latest EP, ATHOUSANDYEARSOFDARKNESS clocks in at just over ten minutes.

ATHOUSANDYEARSOFDARKNESS isn’t a particularly ‘nice’ record to listen to. In fact, the intention seems to be the very opposite. The production is exceedingly harsh and lo-fi; a swirling mess of blastbeats, crackling guitars, screams and white noise. Its one of the nastiest sounding albums you’re going to hear all year.

The songs themselves have a similar effect; abrupt explosions of noise, filed in relentless succession, which makes the listening experience thoroughly disconcerting.

This is the approach to grind that I believe is the most effective – a constantly changing chaotic mash that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Like the name might suggest, ATHOUSANDYEARSOFDARKNESS crams a lot of nihilistic rage, confusion and despair into ten agonising minutes.

Musically, the duo seem to draw influence from Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Discordant Axis, Pig Destroyer and the slightly progressive-bent of Antigama — as well as a whole range of super nasty Japanese noise acts like Merzbow for production approach and aesthetic.

The result is splendid.

This is thedowngoing‘s strongest release to date – one for the fans of raw grindcore, and perhaps even noise aficionados. With a new record from The Kill coming out shortly, it’s nice to see this kind of aural-grind-torture isn’t dead in Australia.

Fun fact: did you know this album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Australian folk-pop musician Jonathan Boulet? Bet you couldn’t have picked that. Nice job Jono! Way to nail the vibe.


Band: thedowngoing
Year: 2012
Genre: Grindcore
Label: Self-released
Origin: Sydney, Australia

Track list:
1. hibakusha
2. the nature of numbers
3. floorboards
4. slugs
5. hope[sic]
6. the economic relationship between productivity & suffering
7. lava
8. untitled
9. monsters in the machine
10. vacant caves
11. snakecharmer
12. aching


In his spare time, Lachlan melts cephalopods and sorts raw numbers. He runs Art As Catharsis, plays guitar in Serious Beak, Adrift for Days and Battle Pope and writes philosophy at Writing As Catharsis. Follow him on tumblr or Twitter.