The coffers have been cracked and out has erupted this prog-rock polyrhythmic monolith. With guest performer Tom Dolas returning following his role on last year's OCS release and adding wonderful embellishments of keyboard and organ, it further cements the 70's prog sound turned mortem and modern. The drumming by Rincon and Quattrone is as distinct, pronounced, and center stage as Orc and with even more polyrhythms to boot. The chemistry between the two players is audible as each has no hesitation to perform a quick drum fill to sustain the track's energy. The drum rhythms on the Moon Bog chorus sound like the percussion of a marching anthem, leading into a place where return is uncertain. On the same track, an earworm that has stuck with me is the beautiful vocal harmonization between John and Brigid on the primary stressed syllable of "asleep", the closing word of a very memorable hook. Similarly beautiful vocal harmonies are found on the verses of the poignant Last Peace. There are themes of humanity's own self-destruction (similar to the 2016 release, A Weird Exits) and social commentaries found within often violent, dolor song lyrics that range from being softly whispered vocals about losing everything and having nothing to call home to violently roared verses of landscapes being burned and people murdered, flayed, and hopelessly running for their lives. These songs detail a story set within a medieval wasteland's final days. My favorite lyrics are found in Overthrown. "Flee, bleed, fucking bled clean" might be one of the most vicious lines I've heard from JPD and the delivery is suitably abrasive against a pummeling thrash metal instrumental. Fans of krautrock legends, Can, will find Anthemic Agressor a comforting place of familiarity. A 12-minute krautrock instrumental that is as challenging, if not more inaccessible, to its relative - last year's Dead Medic 12". Dwyer's cerebral synthesizer psychosis with Hellman's grounding of the instrumental from his nimble bass performance make this a track that sustains attention as it peels away at your mind.
In all, Smote Reverser is a beautifully forlorn, yet colossal tale of loss, destruction, and humanity.