The end of days is upon us — at least, that’s the feeling that Rotten Fruit; Regular Orchard, which is the latest record from the Salt Lake City project Portal To The God Damn Blood Dimension, seems to encapsulate.
The record contains two tracks, each of which are lengthy. Track one, called “Want,” clocks in at just over twenty minutes and moves through a majestic yet punishing soundscape that feels broad enough to offer promising possibility and desolate enough to make an incoming crash clear. The metaphorical landscape that this music explores feels covered with bones.
The music intermingles traditional rock band instrumentation with decidedly non-traditional instruments like the cello, clarinet, alto sax, and flugelhorn, all of which make an appearance on Rotten Fruit; Regular Orchard at some point. These elements of the sound aren’t just garnishes or flourishes that pop up and quickly disappear. Frequently, the billowing orchestral instrumentation totally takes over the mix.
For example, the album begins with a couple of minutes of apparent cello music, after which brass instrumentation and spoken word vocals kick in before the song arrives at some harshly screamed vocals just after the four-and-a-half minute mark. Throughout this opening segment of the song, the music builds, gradually increasing in speed and overall intensity before suddenly dropping off at the about six-and-a-half minute mark. On this particular track, the music subsequently alternates between lacerating, frigid musical harshness and slower sonic mourning.
The music feels consistently lush. During that opening segment in which the performances grow into a subtly awe-inspiring crescendo, the listening experience feels like looking out across a cityscape as the surroundings gradually kick into motion. The cries and pain of those spread across this metaphorical cityscape sound like they’re piercing through the musical haze — the melodies, even in the most briskly high-energy moments of the music, sound utterly aching, as if the whole world has somehow suddenly clenched its chest while wracked by painful emotional turmoil. The majesty of the sound feels undeniable, as does the underlying rip current of sonically-captured depressive pain.
Much of the music feels quite focused, no matter its sprawl, as if capturing a moment of realization that the turmoil at hand will stay. The fight feels over, and the music feels like it explores a realization of emotional truth, pain and all.
“Ashes,” the powerful record’s closing track, clocks in at a little over 14 minutes. The song spends awhile in gentler although no less mournful territory, gradually building into an emotionally pummeling conclusion. By the end of the song, the instruments themselves feel wrung out with emotional toxins, as if the songs provide a space to purge pain. The keeled-over melodies carry stunning weight.
Listen to Rotten Fruit; Regular Orchard below: