Album: Holy, Holy – EP
When one hears the word “consecrate,” or when one thinks of what it means to be made truly holy, often times, images of near-blinding light come to mind. Angels and horns herald a great awakening of the human spirit as evil, ill-will and sin are washed from the carapace of the condemned. Above all—and I cannot stress this enough—there is light. Now steep yourself in the debut release by Consecrate, a solo side-project of Dayton Jones (guitarist of Great Was the Fall): Holy, Holy. A brief, but brutalizing EP, the first thing that probably drenches your ears—and the ears of listeners everywhere—is darkness; heavy, acrid anger and punishing, punctual brutality. However, this is only true to a superficial extent: while Holy, Holy is a soul-rendingly heavy release, it rips through the listeners ribcage with raw, over-the-top down-tempo instrumentation only to expose their soul and cleanse it with lyrics and songwriting that is laden with everything it takes to allow the project’s name to serve true to its purpose. Consecrate will disavow the listener of their previous experiences with sinister, brooding beatdown and dissonant down-tempo and cleanse them with only the finest and most refined aural assault the genre has to offer.
From the very beginning, Consecrate’s deceptive dispersal of sin from the listener’s heart begins with a dissonant, destructive assault. “Bondservant” is a brief, intense crash-course in Jones’ penchant for crushing brutality. Looming, pounding drums dictate the lumbering, flattening candor of downtuned, chug-laden and beefy guitar work. “Emmanuel” picks up right where “Bondservant” leaves the listener—broken and blistered by the immense, almost unbearable dissonance of the combined drumming and deep, chugging fretwork. “Emmanuel” adds splashy, dynamic cymbal work as well as low-down-and-dirty grooves into the mix to provide a whole new array of kicks, punches and slams to incapacitate the listener. “Redeemer” is another track that takes advantage of a variety of voracious, skin-ripping instrumental approaches—from grooves that wind their way into the listener’s head through their ears or riffs and cannon-like chugs that bypass subtlety (and in some cases, technicality) to go directly for the listener’s throat.
Speaking of the throat—Holy, Holy is reproachfully heavy and relentlessly beefy in every respect, including the vocals. However, where the instrumentation seems to preach a gospel of guttural, filthy grooves and grime-covered, slamming sections of no-holds-barred destruction, the vocals tell a different story. Lyrically, Consecrate spread messages of forgiveness, salvation and hope—and these messages are shouted, screamed, and bellowed in every manner imaginable. While “Bondservant” makes consistent use of a low, rasping growl, “Holy, Holy”—as well as the other tracks featured on the release—employ a great variety of screeches and raw, mid-range shouts to accompany the near-perfection of Jones’ fearsome growl. “Holy, Holy” is perhaps the greatest example of this, as it just happens to be the longest track—allowing the most time for Jones to climb from the murky, unfathomable recesses of his low, guttural gurgle to the very limitless apex of his throat-shredding screech. Through it all, this picture-perfect painting of vocal diversity and ascension from low-to-high ranges mirrors the lyrical message of misanthropy and faithlessness to redemption, enlightenment and—above all—consecration.
The dynamic established between brooding, beefy and dense instrumentation and diverse, spanning vocals is what makes this otherwise brief and brutal EP remarkable. Holy, Holy is able to reach out the listener by taking them by the throat and throttling them—forcing them into submission—and then redeeming them, enlightening them with vocal diversity and lyrical fortitude that keeps them engaged. By telling stories of redemption and saviorship in every style of screech, scream and shout the listener can fathom, the vocals are able to either blend with the surly, bitter instrumentation or contrast it starkly—adding to the meaning of every syllable Jones spits. Whether it’s how brilliantly the beefy, low vocals suit the beefy, low musicianship in “Bondservant,” or the stellar contrast between the screeching, ear-splitting screams and rollicking, booming bass tones in “Emmanuel” and “Holy, Holy,” the variety and stunning use of contrast and complementation to amplify the lyrical message and instrumental intensity of the Holy, Holy is remarkable. It is a perfect demonstration of down-tempo songwriting—a stalwart in the defense against the argument that it is nothing but dissonant chugs and super-slow drums; Consecrate bring to the table a dynamic that does, indeed, set this project apart from the likes of its peers.
Short and straight to the point, Holy, Holy is a whirlwind lesson (if “whirlwind” is an adjective that can be applied to the notorious snail-pace of the genre) in dissonant, diminutive down-tempo deathcore. Heavier than ten elephants, yet simultaneously more enlightening than Buddah and as engaging as a fish hook in the listener’s cheek, Holy, Holy is Dayton Jones—and Consecrate’s—new testament to deathcore as it exists today.
For Fans Of: In The Midst of Lions, Great Was the Fall, Redeemer, Traitors
By: Connor Welsh