This is the world I know. A grey and horrid north where victims lay in endless lines. A mile from my home. In the mist of the moore, heed the golden voice of God.
Much has been made of the international project Column of Heaven and their second release, Mission from God. Some of the hype undoubtedly lays in the band's pedigree, most notably containing members of the seminal power violence act The Endless Blockade. Roots aside, Column of Heaven hold their own as Mission from God promises to be one of the best releases of the year.
Bands like Column of Heaven appeal to me greatly. Beyond the band's sound, it's the band's image and atmosphere that really push me into obsession. Uncomfortable bursts of noise and samples, cryptic song titles and magnificent artwork enforce the focus of the release; The Yorkshire Ripper.
While extreme music, punk and metal in particular, often focus on the unsavory and serial killers, Mission from God is hardly tongue in cheek or typical. Bouts of power electronics, distorted samples, sheets of guitars and tortured wails saturate the listener in such a way that few bands can achieve. The ending of "The Devouring Grief" as well as "Entheogen" might be the best examples of this, especially the latter as it's a trudging shamble of noisy sheets, sludgy riffs, powerful reverberated vocals and what sounds like an Adhan processed into something horrifying.
While these are definite highlights and strong accents to the band's sound, they're just that - accents. The heart of the band is grindcore, a particular style that takes influence not only from punk (as it should) but also sludge and death metal as the riffs are thick and harsh, fitting right in. In the end, Column of Heaven's strengths lay in the dense and ruthless atmosphere and their very layered sound.
Mission from God ends fittingly with an uncomfortable piano line and a recorded conversation with the Yorkshire Ripper himself (William Sutcliffe) and what I assume to be a reporter. A package in whole, Mission from God requires a morbid curiosity and a mere handful of minutes to sit through and fully enjoy. The LP of the release features art by Perpetual favorite Give Up and shouldn't be missed.