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Sound Advice: LIME / MEAT by The Sustained Low ‘C’ of Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra”

Toronto black metal necromancers create something as lovely as it is monstrous on their debut EP.

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The Sustained Low ‘C’ of Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (which will be referred to by the acronym TSLCORSASZ for the remainder of this discussion) unquestionably wins the title for most excessive and decadent band name in Toronto. While its moniker may conjure a sense of baroque plenty, the sound that the experimental black metal group has wrought is raw, raging, and unhinged. Originally self-released online, its debut EP LIME / MEAT is now being re-released by local label Hypaethral Records in a handsome 7” vinyl edition.

Composed of two monumental tracks, LIME / MEAT function as a diptych of a record, with each half being substantially different from the other. The seven-minute “Lime” has a breathless, searing quality—merciless as a chemical burn. The vocals have a maddening anguish to them, as if torn from a ragged throat. The guitar work, while executed at an appropriately blistering speed, has a warmth to the tone and a comparative emotional composure that makes the vocal performance seem even more nightmarish. All the while, the battered mechanical heart of the drums gallops manically toward arrhythmic collapse, always threatening to go off-kilter, while somehow clinging precariously to a sense of order.

Although it’s a shorter in length, the graver and more lugubrious “Meat” has a weight and dignity that sets it apart from the franticness of the preceding track. While “Lime” was manic, “Meat” has a doom-laden, dreadful weight. The wraith-like shrieks are joined by guttural, broken groans both monstrous and mournful. There is still an eerie warmth in the guitars, but while it exuded a calming influence before, now it comes across as ominous. A lush depth to the tone and a sophistication to the instrumentation distinguish TSLCORSASZ from other raw black metal projects—LIME / MEAT is an excellent debut, pairing the sumptuous with the repellent, just as disembowelling as it is beautiful.

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