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On Theologian's debut album for Crucial Blast The Further I Get From Your Star..., Leech established a new trajectory for his unique brand of pitch-black, rhythm-heavy industrial music that he'd previously explored with Navicon Torture Technologies. Under this new name, the power electronics and death industrial influences were merged into even darker, more majestic sounds, crafting something that was significantly more atmospheric than his work with NTT, while also reaching into new extremes of experience. On Theologian's latest, The Chasms Of My Heart, this sound is perfected, incorporating more melody and percussion into the long, oppressive dead-world ambience and pummeling electronic doomscapes, and it's one of the best albums that Leech has brought us.
Chasms opens with what may be Theologian's most stirring and evocative piece of music to date, a monumental end-time dirge titled "Abandon All Hope" that starts off as a swirling ocean of blackened synthesizer roar before morphing into the sound of pounding metallic percussion and skull-rattling bass frequencies. At first, it's the sort of pitch-black apocalyptic death-synth heaviness that Theologian has long claimed as its own, but when the layered vocals begin to pour in, soaked in distortion and climbing skyward in a gloriously miserable multi-part harmony above an eerie minor-key hook, this heaviness is transformed into something new. Like some kind of hellish fusion of industrialized shoegaze and thunderous power electronics, "Abandon All Hope" reveals a new side to Theologian's black-hole sound that is explored further throughout these eight tracks.
There's no shortage of Theologian's trademark black ambience, though. The frantic clanking rhythms on "We Can't All Be Victims" becomes a backdrop to a maelstrom of monochrome drone and howling demonic noise, obscuring the nightmarish cacophony of choral voices and screaming feedback and epic strings buried deep below; and "Starvation Is A Legitimate Weapon Of War" appears as an ocean of abyssal low-end churn and rumble that spreads out into infinity, leading into the crushing orchestral power of "My Body Is Made Of Ash...I Live As Ash", where titanic distorted synth-pulses echo up from vast, lightless depths and achingly beautiful strings drift in on clouds of kosmiche shimmer, evoking images of monstrous crematoriums belching smoke and cinder into the skies, extinguishing the sun as raging vocals rise and war-drums begin pounding relentlessly in the blackness.
This album also has some of Theologian's most celestial music, like on the deep-space power electronics transmissions of "Bed Of Maggots" and the final track, both of which begin to resemble the sound of Tangerine Dream blasting out of the heart of a dead black star.
Every track on Chasms - from the more minimal abyssal dronescapes to the thunderous percussive power of the opener - exudes a kind of dark majesty, perfectly blending in the vague orchestral sounds (strings, choral voices, synthetic horns) with the more abrasive and noisy textures that seep from every corner of the album. It's one of the finest slabs of apocalyptic electronic / industrial music that I've ever heard, and certainly a new high point in Leech's long career in the PE/industrial/noise underground.
The Cd release of Chasms comes in a six-panel DVD-size digipack illustrated with Leech's striking artwork.