Review: Darsombra – Climax Community

A “climax community” is “an ecological community in which populations of plants or animals remain stable and exist in balance with each other and their environment”. There is a purity of conviction within Darsombra’s album of the same name that justifies such a title; each panoramic sweep of power chord feels as though it has accumulated its force and weight over generations, with each ounce of distortion, e-bow lead or clean strum taking a carefully assigned position within the stereo image, thus maintaining the record’s wholesome, fulfilling sense of symmetry. Both in terms of the intent behind the composition and its actual construct, Climax Community is the sound of everything slotting into place.

But where the opening 23 minutes of “Roaming The Periphery” feels comparable to the likes of Sunn 0))) for its patient use of string resonance, feedback and crumbling metallic attack – albeit a more spacey, transcendental experience than Sunn 0)))’s more earthly observation of tectonic friction – it’s via the remaining two cuts that Darsombra prove that their influences and contemporaries are scattered far and wide across the musical spectrum. “Green” is a striking four minutes of acoustic guitar with all of the string twang and scrapes of fret movement left in – the limbs and fingers of the music’s creator are put on show where “Roaming The Periphery” masks them behind its FX and sheer scale. Meanwhile, “Thunder Thighs” starts out as a blistering space rock jam – a mere drumbeat away from being a particularly groovy cut worthy of Circle – before ripping open to reveal the void of space within, melting down from stabs of vocal harmony into meditative streams of choral drones, dragging Darsombra from the studio and into the realms of the infinite.

But of course, to experience Darsombra solely through audio is only half of the experience. The whole album has a visual accompaniment, which melds snapshots of reality (trawls through plant life, overhead shots of motorways) with all sorts of spinning, pulsating psychedelics – hazy forests become populated with dancing red orbs, while railroad tracks shimmer and blend into their own mirror image. Where the sonic aspect of Climax Community suggests a propulsive inner journey through a hallucinatory altered consciousness, the visual element goes as far as to confirm it and even begins to evoke it.