Album: Permanent Destitution
Label: Profound Lore
Genre: Black/Death Metal
Country: United States of America
Release Date: October 26th, 2018
Hissing, from Seattle Washington, are referred to as cultivators of inverted death metal noise on their Bandcamp page. The three piece was formed in 2014 with Zach on bass and vocals, Sam on drums, and Joe on guitar; releasing two EPs, one demo, and a split prior to this full length on Profound Lore. With a sound firmly rooted in a caustic blend of black and death metal, Hissing utilize another element, noise, to craft both atmosphere and bridge sections throughout the album. Permanent Destitution is my introduction to the band, and I have learned to trust Profound Lore in bringing forth interesting metal.
The drums are handled by Sam who shows that he is more than capable with an execution of various fills and more standard beats. The shifts between tempos and different sections is impressively seamless; a huge snare roll, or any fill, can stop on a dime moving into a slower piece and vice versa. I did find some of the repetitive snare hits tiresome after a while; whether it was the way it was tuned or recorded, I’m not sure, but it was abrasive and too prominent. The majority of his performance on this album is notable for how the drums keep cohesion within an otherwise chaotic sound.
Zach is a strong vocalist and bass player, though his contributions are sometimes muddied in the furious layers of noise. Vocals are a low raspy growl befitting both the musical style and their moniker. The guitars, drums, and the noise get a bit more of the limelight than the bass does, but don’t mistake the importance of its presence in this sonic force. The low end is fittingly off-kilter, allowing for it to fill in the cracks between the jagged beats and riffs; yet it is often underrepresented or overshadowed by the eerie and threatening guitars.
Joe is in charge of guitars, and damn can he make me feel uneasy with a riff. Every song is constructed with angular attacks, and even the repeated sections don’t seem like they are sitting still. There are many moments across the six songs where he manipulates an unusual melody out of discordant notes; the music feels like it is flaying you alive but you’re too distracted by the anguished churning to notice. There is a fair amount of repetition throughout individual songs while never slipping from being interesting. Each song also maintains its own identity, with their being no bleed through in repeating riffs or progressions. The guitars steer cohesion of the album, which is achieved through the shared aesthetic as well as the ebb and flow of the aggression.
There aren’t many songs on this album, and I’d like to start by highlighting the first song, Backwards Descent. It opens with indistinguishable but ominous clamor as a whirring starts to grow louder, and the drums roar to life as the buzzing guitar thrusts forth. The most interesting part is in the last few moments as it erupts into absolute insanity, which in turn blends into the intensity of the intro to Pablum Abundance. My favorite song rolls around next, Eulogy in Squalor, which opens with static and various sounds crawling from the haze before the pummeling begins; atonal notes ringing out, abysmal growls, and thundering drums that shift and morph along the track’s over six minute run time. Perdurance is a fine way to close out Permanent Destitution, opening with all the destructiveness of the preceding tracks and continuing unrelentingly. At nearly eight and a half minutes, it is the longest on the album; the structure of the song is similar to others, but the added length allows the tonal shifts more room to breathe, giving them more weight. The closing of the song, and the album, is around two minutes of the ominous noise that opened Permanent Destitution as it gets slowly more distorted and intense.
My biggest critique is it seems the music is somewhat restrained; inconsistent in hitting the highs they are capable of achieving. At its worst, Permanent Destitution is repetitive and yet still compelling; at its best it is flirting with impressive compositions in the avant-garde vein. If Hissing were ever to go full bore into avant-garde death metal, they would an absolute juggernaut. Permanent Destitution is a very good album full of dark and dissonant death metal with black metal and noise blended in. This release has all the ingredients to become someone’s favorite album, and I hope it is for many people, because I want to see where this band goes next.
1. Backwards Descent
2. Pablum Abundance
3. Eulogy In Squalor
4. It Without More
5. Cascading Failures
Total Playing Time: 55:52