Batillus’ 2011 ‘Furnace’ was a crushing exercise in industrialised doom metal, punctuated by some truly squashing riffs and similarly megaton vocals coming from the Jarboe collaborator Fade Kainer, transforming the band from a borderline drone band to a more streamlined form of attack. ‘Concrete Sustain’ continues down this road with overall shorter songs still.
From the start, this is an album that means business, with opener ‘Concrete’ marking an anthem of sorts for the band, particularly with the line ‘Sustain and dominate/with concrete’. Compared to what we’ve heard from the past, it’s a fairly simplified offering, one that wouldn’t exactly feel amiss as a potential fan favourite if the band suddenly and unexpectedly got a bigger break. Yet after what seems like a fairly linear, if effective start, things turn up a notch with the longer, gloomier track ‘Beset’, which sees Kainer stalking in the shadows before rising up with his monstrous vocals again. From then on ‘Concrete Sustain’ becomes far from one-track and showcases all sides of Batillus’ now well-crafted take on their artform. ‘Rust’ is like old-school Ministry jamming with Grief, and the finishing track, ‘Thorns’, is a reminder of how well Batillus execute the long trudges through the cold night, with a truly bleak and unforgiving riff, much like their ‘Furnace’ opener .
All in all, its business as usual for Batillus here, and while it doesn’t push the boat out in what they already do, it underlines yet again why they’re a true force to be reckoned with. Now, if they could arrange some UK dates that’d be lovely. But for now the cold, dank audio devastation from these New Yorkers will have to make do on any of the available recorded formats, until that day when this tanker finally sails across the Atlantic.