11Paranoias - Asterismal - (9.5/10)
Published on March 14, 2019
In a tantalizing display of celestial oneness and soul-crushing darkness everything that once was vanishes within the blink of an eye. Black, nothing, gone. An interdimensional pursuit through the cascading oblivion ensues, the permanence of cessation hot on our tails as we seek refuge in the unforgiving universe (or multiverse, take your pick). The smouldering vacuum behind burns, its vast energy bombarding the suffocating entropy with lucid auroras and sonorous howling. Its power is inescapable and all-consuming, rendering the intergalactic evacuation in vain. Without hyperbole the sheer scale and monolithic prowess of 11Paranoia’s fourth outing, the aptly-branded Asterismal, is precisely as the previous statement reads, and absolutely nothing can escape its perpetual sonic devastation.
Crawling out from their subterranean slumber the London-based trio left an indelible mark with 2016’s Reliquary for a Dreamed of World, a gargantuan deluge of oppressive psychedelic sludge if ever there was one, raising the bar incredibly for whatever was to follow. On a scale from one to holy hell Asterismal blows the band’s entire repertoire out of the cosmos: taking their unfathomably rhythmic formula and turning everything up to 11 (ahem) the album was forged within the depths of a red supergiant, harnesses its monumental energy, and explodes with such tremendous force it engulfs everything in its path. With the omnipotence of the previous album’s ‘Milk of Amnesia’ stretched to the extremes it just grows, bound not by the laws of man but to the tune of the inconceivable dimensions beyond our puny comprehension; it is the how the horrifying sounds of the void would sound if made for human consumption.
Unparalleled in its heaviness Asterismal is a sonic opus best experienced as a singular entity, ideally with total sensory deprivation, to fully appreciate its mind-altering obliterations. Building on enormous wall-of-noise structures and frequencies the hallucinogenic grooves tower far above the physical limits of humanity’s influence and crash down in apocalyptic waves; underneath its bludgeoning wavelengths come the archaic cries from a primordial world whilst an endlessly incendiary exhibition of psychedelic nebulae bursts through, lighting the brutal void until it all comes to an end. As the album’s clutches get heavier so too does the realization you’ve been completely ensnared in its grasp (for time stands still here); you’ve been too captivated by the endless swells and crests and supernovae, like those found on ‘Vitrified Galaxy’ and ‘Quantitative Immortality’, to be fully aware of your surroundings. By the time this realization comes it’s too late.
In all its scope, all its volume, and all its power, it can be easily forgotten these sounds come from the imagination of three humans who have spent nearly a decade building up to this paradigm-shifting moment. A meticulous smorgasbord of ingenuity and precision Asterismal stands at the cusp of psychedelic music and world-ending doom, a crowning achievement as far as pushing the limitations of the human experience goes. Music seldom gets as heavy as 11Paranoias, but with this record I think it is safe to say they have completely outdone themselves.