Screature: Four Columns

Music Reviews
Screature: Four Columns

There’s something wrong in Sacramento. Evil gestates below the surface. Artists have fed off it, from Death Grips and Chelsea Wolfe to The Deftones. When asked by The Quietus how the depravity of Death Grips spawned from a city known as diverse, political, conservative and peaceful, Andy Morin, aka Flatliner, counters with “where we are at it’s vagrant, violent and drug-addicted. There are no frills out here, it’s raw.” When Chino Moreno of Deftones visits these days, he tells Noisey that he sees a safer, foodie town, and yet according to a Buzzfeed infographic there are beheaded animals being dumped all over town. The denial of a darkness in the California capital is hard to dispute.

Screature—a goth punk four-piece thriving in the pulsation of a black drone—pray to this darkness, however. With the help of producer Chris Woodhouse, responsible for nearly every Thee Oh Sees record, Screature’s sophomore album, Four Columns, sustains the dark arts worship established on its self-titled debut. That debut, released in 2013, was a criminally ill-documented eruption. Play it two years later and it’s as though each revisit awakens an inexplicable force that lies dormant; the record is alive and terrifying.

But Four Columns represents Screature uncompromised and unrelenting. The LP is sonic rigor mortis, choosing to petrify rather than shed skin. Screature could have lashed out further on the second lap, demanding attention by getting louder and exploring further, but Four Columns is a coil, not to be mistaken as recoil.

Siren Liz Mahony takes no prisoners with missives like “they don’t mean shit” and “I never loved anyway” on “Crumbling.” Later on “High Rise Escape,” nothing’s changed as she shouts “nobody cares” from the street to the rooftops of loft apartments—the sort going up all over Sacramento. Guitarist Christopher Orr opts for less bravado, or rather, tempers to a consistent echoed gnarl. The coil of Four Columns accounts for fewer Tom Morello-esque indulgences often found on the debut. Four Columns denies the instantaneous jaw drop that comes with hearing “Siren” the first time, nerding out on how those sounds are achieved, at least until closer “Graves and Heirs”. It is there that Orr unhinges from his punk traditionalist mode to channel alien frequencies again.

The coil of Screature on Four Columns has its setbacks. “Half Past Midnight” is mirrored by “Channel F” three songs later, accounting for a blurred center. By tightening the structure, the funereal underbelly has softened to a stabile hum, thus disarming the anxiety present on the debut. Screature still assemble for something unknown and ominous, still dwell in cellars, but the feng shui of Four Columns runs the risk of paralyzing their demons. Having said that, a coiled serpent is not to be mistaken as passive. Screature did not slump or regress on Four Columns, but rather lie in wait.

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