Mass Graven Image

Album Title: 
The World Burns To Death
Release Date: 
Monday, December 26, 2022
Review Type: 

Only three days after the ‘official’ release of this album, Mass Graven Image had a split released on the very same label, together with Sado Rituals, which is the main outfit by Gates Of Hypnos’ president Przemysław. Maybe a review on this split will follow (I politely begged my Lords to present me the gift of Time…); but first thing first, and that’s what The World Burns To Death is all about.

A small introduction on the project. Mass Graven Image, sometimes mentioned as M.G.I., is an outfit by Texan-based producer / music(k)ian (and visual artist) Yeshua Gadriell, ‘to be an illustrative surface to pour a world of solitude and reconstruction of the self onto, as the journey is never open’. Got it? If not, just listen to what these sonic expressions try to define, and you’ll get the message. As Mass Graven Image, Yeshua did release a limited yet highly overwhelming hand-full of releases in a limited wave-of-time. This specific one, The World Burns To Death, is like a highlight, available via no less than Poland’s mightiest Gates Of Hypnos cult. The result is an opus magnum that clocks nearly eighty minutes, but once more with such huge variation in concept, approach and atmosphere. And hey, for what it’s worth: what an amazing cover artwork!

Analysing and dissecting each single lullaby on this recording would be superfluous, notwithstanding the fact that every single of them has its own story to tell; or better: all of them are like a chapter within a huge story on mankind’s spasmodic will to survive its own existence. Wounds in our dying world are vital! But our frenzied attempt to mend them are simply suicidal. It’s one cohesive yet pessimistic narration, yet brought with so many sonic sources.

Quite a big part is constructed around multiple layers of experimentalism, i.e. Harsh Noise, Power Electronics and Death Industrial (I admit: this is a very general approach). Piercing sound-manipulation, the additional of samples (remarkable are those metallic clangs in Beatings In Cold Rooms, Hands And Head Not Found), brute industrialised noises, spacelike shrieks and raw noise-violation are canalised into skull-penetrating awareness, balancing in between creativity and derangement. Histeria and lunacy float hand in hand through psychic spaces of man’s abnegation, ignoring our impending doom, caressing our arrogance. Imagine what this project brought with that mighty split with The Filthy Nebula. Compositions like that belligerent assault called Accuse The Fuckers With Blood On Their Hands, or opener Paralytic Hate Shrouds, remind us of our self-destructive nature through loud and malignant structures of Industrial Noise Electronica, if you follow me. But I did mention the open-minded approach, so when one unfolds the subtle yet important hints from, for example, ANW and Static Noise, like those hypnotic rumblings in the lengthy (eleven minutes) piece Violence In Stereo, it is evident that The World Burns To Death explores the out-of-the-box-thinking majesty of Mass Graven Image once more.

At the very same time, Mass Graven Image revert to rather introspective levels of doomed and desolate ambient landscapes once again, with waves of cinematic and droning elegance. In comes in full contrast compared to the quasi-cacophonous eruptions, reminding the listener of the contradictions in our quotidian reality (or better: what we consider to be our reality, independently of what present and future actually stand for). Listen to the eerie outro or Axiom Of Human Irony, Human Chattle [sic] To The Slaughter, for instance, which are like deep-thought symbioses of a spoken sample with cold, mesmerizing synth-melodies, resulting in an almost spiritual voyage (cf. a recording à la Spirit Wounds).

Moreover, one must pay attention to another renewing element that characterises some chapters on this album, being the addition of bombastic, martial and epic expansions. The Ecstasy And The Agony is such example, despite its minimalistic envelopment, but it is the title-track especially that shows that magnificent, solemn grandeur. Ritual, militant, obscure, menacing, slow but determined, this track evolves and expands, covering the listener’s eardrums in a thick veil of the morbid, of the uncomfortable, of the ominous, of the inescapable, of the alienated, yet of the astonishing and the impressive too.

Remember: the world is either going to be riddled with headstones of ghostly towers or in the ashes of its own earn, cremated by nuclear power. The World Burns To Death is the soundtrack for our inevitable Doom, the all-destructive Apocalypse that impatiently awaits the human race. But if I (we) have to fade away into everlasting oblivion, consumed by all-consuming flames, I want this sound-score to be my funeral hymn…