With a name like Bolt Gun, you know they’re going to be intense. The Australian group Bolt Gun present what feels like a soundtrack to bowing slowly before a dark, billowing expanse on their immensely choking new album Begotten. The often entirely wordless album feels like it’s packing the sonic expression of palpable tension without a real relief in sight. The group build on the broad, immersive soundscapes of doom, utilizing an array from smooth, orchestral-like performances to sound effects reminiscent of grating static, all of which unite to spotlight the apparent solemn void at hand.
Seriously — it’s quite intense, and the band’s ever-evolving sonic palette feels especially tuned to keep listeners glued to the album for its runtime. Often, Bolt Gun devolve into entirely non-traditional structures, opting instead for elements like the long, drawn out tones resonating through the opening segments, which enact a grim emotional gravity. The extended, repeating, heavy resonance feels like it’s delivering a grounding in an immovable force, which feels internally oriented because of the minimalism of the poignancy.
They’re not all creeping ambiance, although eventual builds of slight guitar and drum rhythm that do emerge feel like they’re further establishing the atmosphere more than they’re a break into some kind of relieving familiarity. The frequent minimalism of the band’s sound makes every emotional breaking point of vulnerability feel on display. As the album progresses into track two — called “They Herd Together To Bleat Their Hopes” — there’s a sense of the grating effect of a cacophony without a need for brazen physical exertion, as the subtly differentiated, poignant tones slowly bleed into and out of each other. Often, the band progress without a beat or leading riff or anything of the sort, although those elements do emerge towards the end of track two in the form of a meandering haze of drum hits and contemplative, sharp flashes on the guitar.
The haze returns quickly enough. It’s like the haze left after a battle as smoke rises from the earth. Track three, called “How Long The Same,” features elements including a steady, understated but biting staticky crackle running alongside something that sounds like an engine droning on in the distance. When screams do ring out at moments like the end of the track, the tension feels grimly pulsated.
Begotten feels like some of the horrors of industrialization funneled into a ghastly haze. It’s like a street full of bright neon club signs with no one actually in sight. It’s like the sonic encapsulation of demise, including the point when our own personal familiarities are erased.
Check out some of the music below! The album drops in full on April 3 via Art As Catharsis.