Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground metal. Whether it’s death, grind, black, doom, sludge, heavy, progressive, stoner, retro, post-, etc. we’re here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen, we revel in schadenfreude as we experience South Australia’s Endless Loss.
Essentially, Endless Loss represents a self-destructive journey undertaken by two Australian men. Written, occasionally performed, and (presumably) recorded while on that darkening path, Solitary Starless Beast, the duo’s four song demo, typifies many subgenres without being any one of them. Says SJ, guitarist/vocalist/one half of the South Australia-based cauldron-tippers: “We live together in an old house in an industrial suburban area west of Adelaide . . . We’ve been jamming together for around 2 years, we’d had other projects in the past that were not our vision. Mike took up playing drums . . . I’d never done vocals in a band. We talked about the concept of this music for a long time and it became clear that it would have to only be the two of us . . . jamming fucked up together in a dark room, playing and drinking relentlessly for hours on end. The songs formed subconsciously, without any real ‘writing’ other than playing for so long and often that some form was created. The main influences are our surroundings and mental state.”
The demo’s opener “Trepanation,” truly a nightmare of a song, is played with an animalistic indifference for melody and song. SJ recalls conjuring “Trepanation”: “The song came about jamming for hours on end, fucked up completely off-guts in the middle of a summer heatwave. The sound in the room was swirling and we got to a point of total delirium where we couldn’t look at each other and were in a trance, both being pushed to the limits of our individual fucked up hell. The pace was heaps hectic and the music took a downward spiral. We later associated that with the concept of Trepanation, boring a hole into the skull to expose the brain and enter an altered state of consciousness. We recorded live to harness the raw energy and room swell, and it was mixed by us to stay true to our vision of total agony.”
But really, all of Solitary Starless Beast is played with the same primal thrust of “Trepanation.” That charred black and bestial spirit that possesses also an uncanny proficiency. A tight, fellowship wrought after many, many hours spent together in the rehearsal space. While the title track shows EL’s black metal influences, “Weeping World,” is a return to the monochromatic, bloody clanging that makes “Trepanation” such an intense experience. Speaking of, better put “see Endless Loss live” on the old bucket list. According to SJ: “We’ve been playing shows for a year now . . . a handful of shows in Adelaide including a basement metal show which was followed by DJ’s spinning abrasive dark techno and a show in an abandoned mental asylum from the 1800s. [W]e try to play unconventional types of shows and venues where possible and perform a very raw chaotic live ritual . . . There are a few headbangers up the front but most people just cop it, as it is a depressing thing to listen to and watch and painfully loud as I play through both a guitar and bass rig. Our most recent show left a lot of people feeling nauseated after the sheep skulls on stage caught fire from the candles lit in their eye sockets, permeating the stench of death. Cockroaches were also crawling from the skulls.”
Then Solitary Starless Beast ends with a Nick Cave cover. And something you’ve heard for a very long time makes sense in a completely different way. Says SJ: “[I]t’s a dark, sad relatable song with fucked up lyrics, which is incredibly atmospheric and is black metal in essence.”
And as it turns out, that killer woodcut-looking artwork is exactly that. A killer woodcut. As SJ explains it: “Local artist Kerri Ann Wright had made the print from a woodcut . . . Kerri also [used] to live in the same house where all of the [Endless Loss] music was written so it was all in harmony. . . I was looking through her work and came across it and thought ‘fuck, that’s the solitary starless beast!’”
Get Solitary Starless Beast on tape from the band, or download it from their Bandcamp. Experience it enough times to let it open up and swallow you whole. Stateside early birds should check out Caligari Records for their copies. In the meantime, the duo are “playing a live set on radio this month which will end up on [B]andcamp for free download,” SJ says. “We’re currently writing new songs to be released next year when we will be pushing the limits of our live ritual further.”
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