Fuckin' ass-crushin' experimental Russian deathgrind nedriness from a band that I've been quietly obsessed with for nearly a decade. Their releases prior to 2023's Yantra Creating are a little tough to come by, being released on small, obscure Slavic labels for the most part. But now signed to Willowtip, these diabolical death-warpers are finally getting more of the visibility they deserve, and in this renaissance period of "weird death metal", 7 H. Target are king. They have the proper recipe : a balance between bizarre, otherworldly ambience and solid, crushing riff / groove structures, constant flights of imaginative musicianship and eldritch weirdness cast against a propensity for gargantuan tempo changes and riff-shifts that make me do the caveman-stomp all over my house. Yes, this seven-song album is a goddamn slam-salad, but behind every pulverizing breakdown and twisted riff, these guys bathe their music in a unique and anomalous atmosphere that you only get with the bizarrely named 7 H. Target (still working on figuring out what that band name references). But it's not riff mess like so many "tech" deathgrind outfits - the music here is very deliberate and diamond-sharp, impeccable songwriting that brings all of their strange elements together into a panoramic totality. Strange elements? Oh yeah. The band members themselves call this stuff ‚Äúinnovative psychotropic brutal death", and that pretty much nails it.
The music is ultra-violent, crazed, juiced on transcendent Tantric mysticism, Vedic cosmology and esoteric warfare, blending visions of apocalyptic events both past and future. Gossamer digital ambience surges into a cyclone of jagged riffing, discordant chords, complex time changes and rapid-fire shifts in tempo and intensity, the mad rush of opening song "Aghori" thrusting you headfirst into a massive meat grinder of off-the-wall deathgrind structures. But as mentioned before, 7 H. Target's dark magic is in part the way that these three guys (and collaborative cohorts) constantly tighten the rope and suddenly snap this blasting, squealing, seemingly disordered vortex into a demolishing breakdown groove or sludgy hook that all of a sudden makes what you are listening to jarringly catchy and contagious. There are interesting manipulations of Katalepsy front man Igor Filimontsev's vocals and the varied electronic elements, taking Igor's emetic, gut-busting roar and turning it inside out, creating strange fades and dropouts that along with the sleek ambient textures and electronic elements make all of this sound alien and inhuman. Nutso bass runs, bits of fusiony interstitial guitar stuff, some Spheres-era Pestilence touches, constant blasts of baffling shred, nuanced ambient layering, weird synth noises, there's a lot of stuff going on in each song alongside the signature pinging snare drum and wild polyrhythmic percussion, pig-squeal pinch harmonics and pukeoid gutturals. They've made a standout synthesis of over-the-top tech-death, offbeat and progressive-sounding spacey experimentation, and violence-provoking deathcore here.
The stuff that seems to divide some fans is the heavy presence of Indian folk and classical music elements, which are in keeping with their Vedic apocalypse concept. The third song "Shiva Yajur Mantra" in particular sticks out, fusing traditional Indian mridangam percussion, the hand-cymbal-like karatels and Maria Lutta's exotic Sanskrit singing around a background of choppy, off-kilter instrumental death metal. A kind of cybernetic bhajan devotional that transports the album to another plane entirely. Lutta appears later in the album on apex moment "Fire And Places For His Work", where the traditional Hindustani influences and folk-singing styles merge surprisingly well with the band's gruesome tech-slam overload. And closer "Meditation" lays out one final hyperblast assault before dissolving into a wash of dreamlike, gorgeous synth ambience that flows out into the ether. It all feels deeply alien.
Can't stop listening to this disc. The "flow" is fantastic. If there is a stand-out song on Yantra, it's right towards the end with that track "Fire And Places For His Work". Everything has built up to the crazed fusion explosion that goes supernova. This thing fires off synaptic connections I didn't know I had. For anyone hooked on the way-out experimentation and textural weirdness of bands like Wormed, Defeated Sanity, the warped alien-influenced prog-slam of Germany's Maximize Bestiality, those Czech mutants like !T.O.O.H.! and Lykathea Aflame, even certain elements of Discordance Axis, this album is an ideal portal to the gonzo techgrind weirdness that is 7 H. Target. Very recommended, guys.