Music for your brain. The Vanishing is doom-trodden and angular and creepy and mystical in all the right ways. I’m calling it “horror” metal not because it would work well as a horror movie soundtrack (it just might), but because it really instills that anxious discomfort which, counterintuitively, translates into an enjoyable but tense listen.
The great highlight of Insect Ark's present moment is this beast of a record. The Vanishing can be roughly described as a sort of more psychedelic. instrumental Neurosis, a comparison which is not made lightly. It feels like something that has to have been born out of great soul-searching. " I am inspired to create music that makes people have an emotional reaction," Dana says thoughtfully. "I wish to offer sound as transport, as salve, as comfort to tortured souls.”
Schechter's return now with The Vanishing finds Insect Ark at its most potent. With drummer Andy Patterson (ex-SubRosa) joining on this venture, the duo performs a sickening descent to a hallucinogenic abyss… desolate, crafting obscure desert-like sceneries with sparse lead work, or horrifying moments of ambient dread that slithers and moves in circular motifs. "The Vanishing" drives this message straight to the heart, with its fantastic bends that stretch reality itself.
At some point Insect Ark will hit the redline for sonic unsettling and brilliance in experimentation. Captured by engineer Colin Marston (Dysrhythmia, Krallice), The Vanishing’s greatest strength is the way they manage to eschew doom’s eerie or any kind of post-metal brain-numbing formulas by injecting a calculated and defiant Neurosis type of aggression and unrelenting intensity, with a welcome tinge of melody on their dynamic brutal soundscape.
This band is a revelation you have reason to doubt, whether it's real or not. The musical fantasies that come from the Insect Ark workshop can be described as dark dreams that paralyze you at night. Not so much in horror as in the incredible possibilities that open before your eyes. You do not know where reality ends and suppressed lust begins, which you prevent from giving free passage. In a word, a dark splendor that is hard to resist. Better to succumb, no matter what it costs.
Insect Ark’s The Vanishing is the darkest, most unsettling metal record I’ve heard this year - with jarring, unsettling sound effects and atmospherics that constantly jostle the senses, preventing the listening experience from ever settling down into a sense of stasis. Insect Ark are at once a sum of their parts and something entirely different, which is one of the highest compliments I can ever pay a band, and Colin Marston’s characteristically clear but raw production ensures all of that is ri
“They’ve basically dissolved into the ether, their spirit. It’s kind of more about that than the literal thing of the ocean, but it’s something that’s been in me for my whole life. This feeling that you just can’t forget that we’re here right now, and this is really a struggle for all of us to recognize because life is short, but it’s also long, and it’s easy to forget. We’re not immortal, and we tend to forget that.”
The Vanishing feels cavernous, making you feel small and on edge; it’s very easy to disappear into it. Different flashes of unsettling moments and uncomfortable feelings slink through your mind. There’s a discomforting violence to much of the music that touches you deeply. It’s quite rare and incredible.
Even the cymbal washes that populate the open spaces of the 10-minute closing title-track are meant to be forward in their impact; they’re leading the way gradually & patiently through a noise-laden drone-out and back to a more cohesive post-metallic progression that builds to the final apex of the record. The Vanishing only pushes farther toward that last crescendo in the title-track — which, yes, ends cold enough to be vanishing suddenly; the abiding darkness of the atmosphere is unrelenting.
Hulks through the galaxy like a beam, decimating the surface as your mind is lost in a dream. Lasers form and cut through the playing as the pace hovers, and the Western skies again hang over the song. Slide guitars darken the track while strange waves create frightful confusion, and that ominously slithers toward heavy chunking, while everything becomes a combined force that bleeds into the sun.