Review: Millipede – The Lower World

As the first mash of harmony and fizz bursts out of the opening track of The Lower World, Millipede returns in an instant, as if continuing a sentence he started prior to falling into a coma. This is the second in a “dark fantasy” trilogy following 2011’s Realms, and there’s not a moment’s doubt in the fact that this new record is cut from the very same coarse (yet beautiful) cloth – each track forces colour out through a gauze of rust, manifesting from the same primitive setup of hand-cut tape loops of guitars and pedals. Rather than push at the boundaries of creative possibility with his limited means, Joseph Davenport digs ever further into a solitary point; the relentless sound of hissing, screaming guitar results in a hyper-magnification of its every detail, and when I finally adjust my eyes to the blaze that initially blinds me, I find myself aware of every molecular melodic intricacy pulsating and quivering within the surge.

There are nods to shoegaze’s looming wall of sound, to harsh noise’s filthy, cannibalistic attack on the high frequencies, and to black metal’s perverse lust for the lower fidelities. Yet like the panes of the kaleidoscope twisting and reshaping into new patterns, one’s perspective on The Lower World changes over time – sometimes the record is a ferocious provocation to even hardened listener tolerance levels, and sometimes it appears to float with grace and woozy melodic romance. The material itself never changes state, but such persistence causes the listener’s mind to orbit the music and view it from all angles, spinning round The Lower World as if dancing with it.