Published Feb 25, 2014Ottawa's post-metal and hardcore warriors Alaskan have been all quiet on the recording front for nearly two years, with the exception of their split with Co-Pilot back in 2012. A soul-scouring wind was building during that time, however, and has now been unleashed as like a scourge on their latest, devastating full-length, Despair, Erosion, Loss. As emotionally harrowing as it is musically intense, the record teeters dangerously close to noisy chaos at some moments, pulling back to a bruised, sobbing pulse elsewhere.
"Fiend" may be the finest track they've recorded yet, becoming so vulnerable during a quieter interlude only to turn on the listener, choosing disembowelment over intimacy. The vocal performance is immense and exhausting, clearly demanding everything from both guitarist Gary and bassist Cory (as well as guest vocalists Sterling Healey and Deniz Guvenc).
Some of the most shiver-inducing moments come from the strong arrangements, courtesy of Mark Molnar, that shiver like the edge of a scalpel barely kissing an exposed nerve. The production, courtesy of Topon Das of Fuck the Facts, is nearly perfect, allowing each broken, fragile moment of vulnerability splinter with terrible clarity, and also let the sound build to a thick, fat keloid scar when necessary. Wrenching, raw, and yet beautifully crafted, Despair, Erosion, Loss is a record that gives, and demands, everything. (Alerta Antifascista/Moment Of Collapse)