Underground Sounds: Insect Ark – Marrow Hymns

Label: Profound Lore
Band: Insect Ark
Origin: USA

Insect Ark is Dana Schechter (bass, lap steel guitar, synthesizers) and Ashley Spungin (drums, synthesizers). These two ladies have a knack for perfectly executed doom/drone with heavy atmospheric overtones. Their latest effort is called ‘Marrow Hymns’.

The duo has been working their musical magic since 2012 when they dropped their debut ‘Collapsar/Piledriver’. Dana Schechter has played with Gnaw, Arabrot, Locrian, Bee and Flower and also does film scores. Ashley Spungin worked with Taurus, Negative Queen, and Normus. Together, that means a pile of experience in creating tunes that truly hit home… and hit hard.

The word cinematic has often been used in conjunction with this band, but there is a very good reason for it. The droning, meandering sound is never meant to just pummel you, but slithers around, enveloping you in the atmosphere that the duo desires to unleash. The whining guitar on ‘Arp 9’ instantly works as a brush on a canvas, painting the illuminated visions of Dana Schlechter on bass. The unity in the sound is so particular, it creates a harmony that unnoticed, submerges the listener.

Dreamy is indeed a captivating term for the music of the duo, but at times those drums hit you in the head with unrelenting force. On ‘Skin Walker’, walls of sound hit like a tidal wave with a massive force. It’s eerie, how they so easily switch from post-rocky soundscapes to pulverizing doom. You hardly notice the switch even. One of my favorites is the track ‘Sea Harps’, with embraces grandeur and that feeling of nautical doom metal. The scratchy strings and foreboding drumming evoke the surging tide of the waves, holding the tension up and then let it all flow out. Perfectly.

At times drones and distortion create peculiar sonic tapestries, warm sounds, and cold electronics. It all culminates in the harrowing outro ‘Daath’. A track that just eats you alive in all its industrial buzzing and droning. What an exceptional piece of music here, by these doomsters.

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