MAKE do not fret about the unfamiliar. In fact, on their excellent second full-length album, The Golden Veil, the Chapel Hill trio winds through a litany of identifiable influences. From the juxtaposition of an electronic surge with an acoustic comedown during prelude “I Was Sitting Quietly, Peeling Back My Skin” to the mantra-like singing and malevolent eruption of album centerpiece “The Immortal” (and the jazz-like patter of its dénouement), MAKE do nothing that’s too extreme or outlandish. Screamed vocals are meted out among more meditative moments, and violent surges arrive only with warning and purpose. Even at the edge of Neurosis’ 30th-anniversary performances, it seems strange to describe any nominally doom metal band as accessible. But MAKE have mostly been relegated to that category for convenience, anyway; their work on The Golden Veil lifts them out of it.
These seven songs represent the logical and refined fulfillment of MAKE’s discography to date. Even their 2010 debut,
These seven songs represent the logical and refined fulfillment of MAKE’s discography to date. Even their 2010 debut, EP 1, suggested a strong interest in dynamics, with moments of quiet interrupting the roar. After four minutes spent cycling through one melody and ratcheting tension, “The Immortal” goes still and silent, to the point of seeming entirely finished. Just then, though, MAKE rush in, headstrong and thrilling. And for a third of an hour, “The Architect” and its instrumental sidecar, “In the Final Moments, Uncoiling,” develop as one perfect arc. The action rises slowly and steadily, reaching a distortion-streaked coda that spends 10 minutes dissolving into oblivion.
“Let the rivers run black/with the ash of renewal,” Spencer Lee proclaims near the middle of that two-part finale. “And the ruins of the old, at our back.” It’s a fitting kicker for The Golden Veil, a record that repurposes the scraps of familiar forms into a personal and purposeful new shape.