Asva What You Don't Know Is Frontier

Clinching the year’s most-fitting-title award, What You Don’t Know Is Frontier is the sophomore full-length from ambient doom riders Asva. It speaks of charred, barren landscapes, of limitless, dark oceans, of apocalyptic plains scavenged by long-dead zombies. Burning Witch/Goatsnake guitarist Stuart Dahlquist crafted this epic after the death of his brother, yet the album’s dénouement embraces the cathartic hope of weathering loss and emotional resolution. The opening title track is 15 minutes of loping doom like old Earth, hewing boulders to sand in a miasmic desert. The noise-heavy "Christopher Columbus” is more industrial and desolate, with plodding war drums and impossibly low bass tones. The acoustics of "A Game in Hell, Hard Work in Heaven” stand confident like introspective Mindrot, with organ and female ululations, and lingering chords that converge near the end in a psychedelic cacophony of early Pink Floyd. "A Trap for Judges” caps the album with more Earth-styled drone and ends with a pipe organ from a Yes hymnal. Surely a candidate for the forthcoming movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, What You Don’t Know Is Frontier finds Asva fomenting oblique unrest in the swales of the soul. (Southern)