No matter the rotation of its members or the format of its releases, the Chapel Hill trio MAKE has always been more than another doom metal band, content to plod away at punishing volumes. They’ve covered The Velvet Underground and nodded toward Spacemen 3, aimed for high-concept fare and eased into pastoral reverie. This was particularly clear on last year’s great LP The Golden Veil, an album whose heaviest moments landed like doom gut punches but whose more pensive passages suggested a twilit autumn evening.
Those ruminative impulses take the lead on In Pursuit, a two-song, 16-minute, totally free EP the band issued this morning. Captured during an early session for another EP the band plans to finish later in January, these two edited improvisations find MAKE in full drift mode, as though winding toward peaks that never come. “Always Waiting for the Bigger Axe to Fall” trickles through a long, oscillating drone before becoming something of an instrumental mantra, with guitar, bass and drums repeating and exaggerating the same riff-and-rhythm figure for the second half.
If that track suggests the open-ended excursions of Ash Ra Tempel, its digital flipside, “Between the Ocean and Your Open Vein,” feels more like post-rock, with a regimented structure that builds toward a climax before curling into an exiting wash of noise.
These are MAKE’s first recordings with drummer Luke Herbst. The band says the resulting EP will be much heavier, but regardless, this is a fine surprise start to 2016.