If the cover of Nimrod reminds our readers of Damien Valles’ Exposure, it’s because Paskine is responsible for both. The earlier album strode across snow, while the latest excursion delves into magma. Look closer and one can see black-and-white behind the green and red. Human life cannot be sustained here. While the cold cover displayed travelers, the hot landscape is barren.
One can hear the dangerous bubbling on the title track, which begins with arid drone but soon adds bubbling and hissing. Sedimentary layers of static and synth create a sullen weight. Percussive electronic loops echo like voices sent into the dark. Look again at that cover image. One might discern a maw, two predatory eyes; and a secondary, screaming maw buried in the upper right. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
With titles like “Fata Morgana”, “Phantom Limbs”, “Failure” and “Silence”, Nimrod announces itself as uneasy listening. The former track drags chains, breathes with difficulty and drowns in pulses of bass. “White Elephant” swirls like an approaching swarm. “Phantom Limbs” is chunkier, rotating like a broken washing machine. There’s no break from the abyss. And yet, where there is sound, there is still movement, even if what appears to be life turns out to be an empty pulley clanging against a bent flagpole. And down we go, another level.
“Failure” is the heart of darkness, the loudest and thickest piece, a sonic reflection of the oppressive thoughts that accompany a breakdown. At this point, there’s nowhere to go but up (or death). The sub-melodies of the two-minute “Silence” sound like a far-off calliope: depending on one’s outlook, either a memory or a motivation. Relenting a bit, Paskine shifts timbres ever so slightly for the final three tracks, leaving listeners with a hint of solace, a crack of light. The ending of “North” includes patterns more musical than the rest, while light industrial beats visit the remainders like descending ropes. There’s something to hold onto, even if it turns out to be a fata morgana. (Richard Allen)