Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
Memebrane‘s I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds oozes desolation, despair and darkness. It is an uncompromising glance into bleak darkness, forcing one to stare into the blackness of the void. The sonic landscape of the music is gritty, sharp-edged and full of seething threats. Memebrane’s music grabs a hold of the listener, holding them still and making them listen as it lays out its harsh vision of the world.
The range of sounds used on I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds all create a sense of emptiness, aggression and danger. They are grating, metallic and full of shadows as they growl and scream through the tracks. Rare moments of delicate, light synth sounds seem to heighten the enormity of the black gulfs into which the listener falls.
There is a distinctive atmosphere that permeates the album. It is all seemingly calculated to surround the listener in a cloak of hard, harsh and unflinching darkness that is unrelenting in its assault on any feelings of gentleness, peace or hope. I found it quite effective at achieving its goal.
I admit to finding it a challenging listen, and it certainly isn’t on my usual wavelength but I appreciate how I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds is able to immerse me in its feelings of darkness and danger, forcing me to pay attention and to turn my gaze to the shadows.
My Favourite Tracks Anaylzed
“Now I Am Become Death Part 1 and 2”
“Now I Am Become Death Part 1 and 2” begins with a nervous, computerized shudder of sound and static that sweeps over the surface of the track. J. Robert Oppenheimer’s voice speaks his doom-laden words as nervous, skittering sound comes in with a desolate wind. The vocal sample breaks and distorts, twists and trembles. There’s a feeling of emptiness and loss permeating the music that I find quite affecting. The buzzing sounds increase as a medium-high, hollow synth pulses unevenly and the beat stutters and shudders through.
Harsh static roughly flows and the high synth pulse continues with bursts of laser light cutting through the tide of shadowed, twisted sound. Piercing notes cry out, so full of tension as they move in a slow pattern over the storm of sonic madness underneath them. The maelstrom fades into deep, open silence as distorted and writhing sounds howl through. A slow, distant beat moves in as sounds shiver and shift, a light xylophone playing more distant, drifting notes
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"Mass Shadow Generator"
High, tense sounds move over an uneven broken beat that stutters into the open space of “Mass Shadow Generator.” The beat feels divided and unsettling but begins to develop more evenness as a cymbal shapes it. A harsh punch of gritty sound moves into the track as the percussion strikes like a physical blow, broken and pounding, surrounded by static. Ethereal sounds drift in pleasing contrast to the harshness around them.
A twisted string sound carries a shivering melodic line that is full of a certain warmth tempered by a lost quality as it sings over the battering tide of the beat. The tracks slide into a desolate openness and an elevated drifting sound before another hollow, distant pulse of bass breaks in. Dense, jagged blocks of bass add their own aggression and another powerful synth oscillates, full of evil portent adds to the powerful wall of noise that permeates the track.
"The Anubis Lathe"
“The Anubis Lathe” starts as sounds are lost in an empty void that has a feeling of air flowing through it. A fragmented, jumping beat moves in along with slowly oscillating, sawtoothed synths that rise and fall behind the raggedness of that rhythm. Tightly wound, elevated notes with sharp edges move in repeating bursts and a metallic chiming synth plays in momentary pulses.
I enjoy how the piano plays skittering patterns of notes that feel deeply unsettling over the grinding walls of sound. The piano moves back into the void and a steady beat emerges, full of mechanical noise, as raised sounds twist. The clash of metal on metal is evoked in an angular sonic pattern as a medium-high knot of jagged synth cuts across the surface of the track. Hugely thick bass moves as a high sound extends and carries anguished noise into the music.
Notes that alternate between angularity and height move in an interlocking pattern over a juddering beat that is now joined by lacerations of sound that cut into “Disillusionment.” The shifting pattern of synth sound becomes trance-inducing as a simple series of notes is carried on a keyboard. Those notes weave into a gentle, caressing melody that drifts slowly in. I enjoy the unexpected nature of the melody over the glitchy feeling of the other sonic elements of the track.
A piano moves in, delicate notes dancing over the growl and grit in the rest of the track. A well of shadowy bass and half-chanting deep vocal sounds swells up under the repeating, angular pattern of sound. A series of metallic noises clank and spin into the music as the hypnotic angular pulse keeps moving and static glitches and twists through. As the track closes, the harshness and deep sounds all move together before the light, easy and smooth touch of the piano softens the aggression.
“The Aftermath” opens into a cavernous sonic space with ghostly notes that shift over the airy breaths as technological sounds move and float. Delicate choral sounds, ghostly and lost, flow through the track along with a bell-like sound. The reverent, ethereal vocal sounds move through the shadows around them. I am drawn to the sensation of a lament that the track exudes here.
Metallic sounds are joined by a soft sweep of rain falling, adding to feelings of loss and desolation. The heavy well of bass moves under the wordless dirge of the music before a throbbing beat adds more weight to the track. Grunting slashes of sound writhe into the track as the drums take on a militaristic quality. A wandering medium-high synth plays a melancholy melodic line as the darkness closes in.
Harsh, powerful sounds dominate I Am Become Death, The Destroyer of Worlds and draw the listener into a desolate, broken world of pain and emptiness. There’s an uncompromising quality about this album that I respect despite finding it to be a difficult listening experience and I don’t mind stepping outside of my comfort zone.