As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 

TODAY

Monday, December 9

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Transmission
« Wooden Shjips @ Empty Bottle, Saturday 11/15 Album Review: Capturing Stillness with A Winged Victory for the Sullen »

Album Fri Nov 04 2011

Album Review: The Bleakest Winter With Surachai's To No Avail

SurachaiToNoAvailWeb.jpg

Here in Chicago we've just hit the month of November or the moon cycle after Samhaim as the pagans know it and that's prime time for metal to take over the turntable in my house. Riding in on winters heels Surachai has just released To No Avail, a blast of stark, cold, desolate, black metal. To No Avail is a record you listen to backwards in the desperate search of finding a doorway out of the nightmare filled darkness it brings.

To No Avail consists of two ten-minute songs pragmatically labeled "Side •" and "Side ••". This iconic labeling is very important for when we bury To No Avail in a time capsule that we blast into the Alpha Centauri. Joining the two sides are bridges of malfunctioning interstellar industrial computer ambience. Remember that scene in The Thing where Kurt Russell can't beat the computer at chess and pours coffee in it? Digital howls like that. "Side •" opens with modem infected audio signal that'll make the vectored hairs on a digital goats neck stand up. Then the tones float at about mid brain level and then pull back as a Norse god summoned tidal wave of sound rushes in. Buzzing that would be at home in the cathartic shimmering and pulsating guitar orchestras of Glenn Branca howl above you. The drums jackhammer with an industrial fury. Like a harsh wind trapped the vocals screech "Forged by a million suns/Fallen into oblivions/Passed through light/Relentlessly aimed/Towards endless darkness." You get the feeling that Surachai has survived a few Chicago winters. When the album comes up for air it shifts from atonal brutality to the slow burning acidic atmosphere of Jupiter.

Surachai can form a church burning pact with the Krallice, Deathspell Omega, and Deafheaven records on your bookshelf. The songwriting on To No Avail starts with a traditional European black metal template; lo-fi recording, riffs that gain power through repetition, pragmatic almost punk rock style drumming, and raspy vocals and pulls it apart. Surachai mixes his wide sonic palate in a hefty robust manner but without the headache inducing reliance on over compressed loudness that curses too many metal albums. To No Avail is a album with heft that rewards you as you carefully peel back it's dusty exterior and find secret moments of beauty within. The throbbing beautiful exhalation of a coda at the end of "Side ••" can smuggle itself amongst the best songs on any album by Mogwai. It's a rare feat that a heavy metal album can balance melody and bludgeoning brutality as well as To No Avail.

The artwork that envelops the release is comprised of a series of pagan themed black and white photographs by Sarah Sitkin. The occult imagery sets the bleak post-apocalyptic tone of the album while tipping their goat skull to the history of black metal art that predates. Forming a stark contrast inside the vinyl is a skullish off-white.

Surachai hits a hidden balance of dark metal brutality and fragile moments of beauty. To No Avail is available now as a name your price digital download and Handshake Inc is currently taking pre-orders for the vinyl to be released on January 18, 2012. Surachai was featured on fellow Chicago metal band American Heritage's show shoveling album Sedentary earlier this year.

 
GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

Blogroll

  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
BackStage
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
ChicagoMusic.org
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
CHIRP
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
Daytrotter
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Do312
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
Gridface
The Hood Internet
Innerview
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pitchfork
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Songs:Illinois
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock

  Venues:

Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
B.L.U.E.S
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Constellation
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
FitzGerald's
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Martyrs'
Mayne Stage
Metro
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Rosa's
Schubas
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Smartbar
Subterranean
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Township
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Atavistic
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Hozac
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store

Events

Featured Series














 

Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.


About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks, sarah@gapersblock.com
Transmission staff inbox: transmission@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15