Very few artists can release multiple recordings in a single year and retain our attention, but Ryan Huber (Sujo, Olekranon, Vopat) is one of them. His multi-genre approach is a key factor; by straddling the fields of post-rock and drone, he is able to offer a multitude of appealing sounds without repetition. Repent is one of his darker recordings, draped in thick atmospheres, harnessing both ends of the aforementioned spectrum. At times, it’s all drone, but then the drums and guitars come crashing back like returning armies. This helps the album to match its title; one imagines the harsh tones of a Crusader or a deranged monk, demanding spiritual fealty. The end product of such an invitation (be converted, cast out or beheaded) is the black plague of faith, a warped version of what once was holy, the fallen and blind creating more liars in their own image. To those both inside and outside of the faith, such conversions are travesties, prompting anger and indignation, fitting the tone of this release.
Huber’s work has never been classified as gentle, and Repent continues in this vein. Locust drones, thunderous guitars and military drums dominate the proceedings. If bludgeoned faith is the theme, the music could not be more fitting. And yet, almost despite itself, the music creates a separate, colder holiness somewhat removed from the main action: an occasional organ-like tone, a hopeful swirl. Buried behind the judgment and perversion is a glimpse of the frightening, incomprehensible deity in whose name all this forced repentance is going on. To the self-righteous, this will come as a comfort (“I speak for the Almighty!”), to the ignorant a threat (“Is God on their side?”) and to the humble a terrifying truth: that we cannot tame or claim what lies beyond our understanding. Such internal conflict gives Repent an awful power; it’s the sound of the scary thing behind the scary thing, paired with the idea that the second scary thing demands an ever greater sacrifice. (Richard Allen)