When: Tue., Aug. 9, 8 p.m. 2016
Composed of five tracks adding up to nearly an hour, Sumac’s What One Becomes is about as hefty as the reputations of the three superlative composers pulling the levers behind its curtain. Spearheaded by guitarist-growler Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom, Mammifer) and kept plowing forward by bassist Brian Cook (Russian Circles, These Arms Are Snakes, Botch) and drummer Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists), the album is a behemoth of sludge, posthardcore, and dissonant metal that still finds ample time for prog flourishes to glide over the surface of a track like glowing flares cutting above the scorched carnage of a war zone. The first four minutes of opener “Image of Control” is a fuck-all of feedback, crescendos, and writhing, in-the-distance yowls from Turner, a how-do-you-do welcome if there ever was one, while the devastating “Rigid Man” chugs so deeply and immensely and powerfully that Turner’s guitar sound is the equivalent of dropping anchor into the belly of a submerged submarine. Though its bleakness can be tenuous and suffocating, Where One Becomes is also surprising in how swiftly it can provide catharsis—some cyclical riffs settle into a groove much quicker than you’d expect.