Full of Hell x Lingua Ignota x The Body? It would be gluttonous to ask for anything like this group. All three of these artists put out albums last year with their respective projects, and they show no sign of stopping. Comprised of Dylan Walker (Full of Hell), Kristen Hayder (aka Lingua Ignota), and Lee Buford (The Body), Sightless Pit is a collective of some of the most ambitious musicians in mainstream noise today. Metal and noise are without a doubt the most incestuous genres of music, but something with these ‘big’ names behind it is bound to be an album of epic proportions. With each of their own projects being extremely influential in each one of their respective subgenres and frequent inhabitors of my listening rotations, I went into this record with extremely high hopes.
But Grave of a Dog is not an album to fulfill expectations.
Sounding like the lovechild of Deathpile and Health, Sightless Pit brings the techno-inspired instrumentation of The Body but adds a polished flourish rather than the noisy, gritty and roughly produced mix shown on albums like Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light (2017) and One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache (2016). Both of these collaborative projects showed the talents of not only The Body but Full of Hell also, and we can see how this style is a comfortable medium for both groups on this record. While the synths and drums are undeniably Buford, the vocals are another story. I am unaware of whether or not Hayter provides any harsh vocals on this release, but my gut tells me, no, and therefore, the vocals are split by Hayter (clean) and Walker (harsh). I also have no doubt that the vocalists provided to the instrumentation as well – Hayter does nearly everything for her project, and Walker is a proficient noise maker himself – but each member has their defined role – and nails it.
Buford’s beats are creative, haunting and uncomfortable, often challenging our musical ear to distinguish between what is a drum and what is a synth. Walker’s bloodcurdling screeches unsurprisingly slot very well into this mix of tight booms and baps and somber synth lines, but so do Hayter’s. Tracks like “The Ocean of Mercy,” “Violent Rain,” and “Love Is Dead, All Love Is Dead” sounds very similar to tracks off of her solo work, where swelling electronic lines and buried drums create a repetitive and unnerving pulsing as her soprano soars to great heights. She is like a siren in a spiraling squall of intense instrumentation, in the best way possible.
These niceties being said, I have a lot of issues with this record. In classic The Body & Full of Hell fashion, this release is far too short. With only two of the eight tracks exceeding four and a half minutes, the 38-minute album seems to be missing a good chunk of material. These short cuts also leave a lot to be desired, which is an issue I have held against The Body for a while. The beats are creepy and the synths eerie, but they rarely build to anything other than a crank of the gain knob. Walker’s screams are rarely dynamic, which is alarming, as his vocal work with Full of Hell is phenomenally diverse (take a listen to “Branches of Yew” off of Trumpeting Ecstasy (2017). “Drunk on Marrow” and “Miles of Chain” falter in the back half of the album due to these issues. These critiques may be harsh, and I can give Buford and Walker major credit for their performances on “Kingscorpse” and “Immersion Dispersal,” but overall I find their contributions lacking.
Perhaps the saving grace of this release is Hayter (not that the others are bad). Her voice is frighteningly beautiful and works unbelievably with the instrumentation that surrounds her. If the song lengths were comparable to that of the last track, or anything off of Lingua Ignota‘s Caligula (2019) or All Bitches Die (2018), the exploration of sounds might have been more fleshed out.
Is Grave of a Dog a bad release? No, but it is nowhere near amazing. There are both a handful of memorable and unmemorable tracks, so this album is a wash. Will I listen to the really great songs on this album again? Absolutely. But the album as a whole? Unlikely.
Final Verdict: Dogscorpse
Favorite Tracks: “Kingscorpse,” “Love Is Dead, All Love Is Dead,” “Violent Rain”
FFO: The Body, Lingua Ignota, Full of Hell (duh)
2. “Immersion Dispersal”
3. “The Ocean of Mercy”
4. “Violent Rain”
5. “Drunk on Marrow”
6. “Miles of Chain”
7. “Whom The Devil Long Sought To Strangle”
8. “Love Is Dead, All Love Is Dead”
You can support the band by purchasing their music from their Bandcamp