AlbumsNovember 29, 201112,172 views

Starkweather This Sheltering Night

01. Epiphany 02. Broken From Inside 03. All Creatures Damned and Divine 04. One Among Vermin 05. Bustuari 06. Martyring 07. Swarm 08. End of All Things, The 09. Transmit 10. Receive 11. Proliferate
2010 Deathwish Inc.
Our score 8


Philadelphia's Starkweather don't write for the fair-weather fan. Their material requires patience, attention and time to absorb, none of which is endearing to fickle consumer or commercial interest. They've refused to follow the standard rock regimen of recording routinely and touring regularly; the band spent over a decade constructing 2005's Croatoan. Though Starkweather influenced genre-shaping bands (Converge, Isis, Dillinger Escape Plan), they've remained one of metal and hardcore's longest running and underrated bands. Given the band's reluctance to embrace a parochial musical viewpoint or acquiesce to trends, Starkweather remain devoted to existing on their terms. The band's insularity informs their work. Starkweather harkens to the noisier end of the metal-hardcore spectrum of the mid-90s. They don't sound much different today than on 1995's Into the Wire. Then, as now, one cannot easily trace Starkweather directly to antecedents. Instead, the band squeezes various influences (death metal, drone, prog) through the musical meat grinder to produce something novel. This Sheltering Night consists of long, shifting songs that operate more like classical compositions than traditional rock. This has always been the band's approach to song writing; yet it feels more jarring and abrupt here. While impressive, the lengthier songs are harder to digest. Starkweather could have developed more cohesive narratives to thread these songs more tightly together. But this flaw doesn't deep-six what is the band's most forward-thinking record. The pros and cons of Starkweather's M.O. can be explored in "Broken From Inside." The song bears some resemblance to Atheist, with jazz percussion, constantly changing tempos and creative guitar work. Unlike most of Atheist's material, this song stretches nearly ten minutes. A brevity-minded band would have chopped it into an album's worth of individual songs. But despite its desultory nature, the song highlights Starkweather's awe-inspiring skills. A casual listener will struggle to keep up, which is probably the band's intent. "Broken From Inside" and much of the album require multiple listens to grasp and appreciate. This is a lot to ask of a world suffering from nose-diving attention spans. But Starkweather is uninterested in catering to the tastes of the masses. That's not to say This Sheltering Night isn't a visceral thrill. Even in small doses, the vitriol and dread intrinsic to the Starkweather experience serves the same purpose as slasher films or driving too fast (after all, the band named themselves after a mass murderer). Credit the shredded-larynx screams and creepy croons of Rennie Resmini for providing much of this sense of terror. Though This Sheltering Night works on a cerebral level, the songs also placate a hunger for punishing music. To accentuate and diversify its metal miasma, the band employs unlikely guest contributors. Oktopus, Elizabeth Jacobs and Sophia Perennis lend a hand with a quintet of electronic and noise interludes. Starkweather would have benefitted from incorporating such atypical elements into their actual songs. Nevertheless, the pieces still serve the record by providing a necessary breather. If Starkweather seem out of sync with the times, that's probably the point. An album this obtuse could not have been concocted to accrue fame, wealth or busloads of groupies. This Sheltering Night can be daunting, but it is well worth the effort. Bottom Line: This Sheltering Night differs little from most of what Starkweather has done before. It's a colossal and complex record from a band that refuses to quit.


Post Comment
adam hellbound_ 6/20/2010 3:04:48 PM

Elizabeth Jacobs = Sophia Perennis

bundle of grundle_ 6/20/2010 10:49:48 PM

good review.

the_smile_that_kills_ 6/21/2010 12:19:34 AM

the track listing, although correctly matching the back of the album jacket, is not the actual song order. the first six songs listed are the real starkweather tunes, while the other 5 listed are noise tracks by guest artists. on the album the noise songs are placed in between the starkweather songs. the actual order of the album when its playing back is very different, and at first, confusing. the record kicks ass, track listing problems aside. their best material and best suited production.

versailles_ 6/21/2010 1:38:46 AM

I f*cking love this band

yasaf_ 6/21/2010 9:05:34 AM

Does Casey Boland post on the messageboard?

RobbyRed_ 6/21/2010 10:14:20 AM

Album of the year.

Omegaman_ 6/21/2010 11:15:25 AM

Afraid to give a 9, huh?

sbears_ 6/21/2010 11:22:54 AM

lovin' that thesaurus

bensy_ 6/21/2010 11:42:27 PM

good review. But I wouldn't be so quick to call them desultory, I think it's all done a certain way with a certain intent in mind.

arty_mcfarty_ 6/22/2010 7:19:46 AM

FINALLY....... a well written review that actually talks about the record!

arty_mcfarty_ 6/22/2010 7:20:43 AM

webby, please have this fellow do more........i think mike dexter is starting to go off the deep end

godgrinder_ 6/22/2010 1:57:52 PM

Holy Thesaurus Sitting Right in Front of Me, Batman!

ta_ 6/22/2010 2:17:33 PM

f*cking horrible record.

logmaker_ 6/22/2010 2:23:49 PM

music is cool but I can't get into the vocals, I tried, several times

Godfather_ 6/22/2010 2:55:42 PM

Stop deleting my comments about me quenching for c-ck.

notsxecore_ 6/22/2010 7:12:25 PM

this review is far better than starkweather

big BROTHER_ 6/22/2010 10:09:26 PM

awful band

Godfatherofsoul_ 6/22/2010 11:48:37 PM

The comments seem to lack.. i need the big black

Robertredford_ 6/23/2010 10:25:39 AM

Who's the butthurt idiot imitating GFOS?

Godfather_ 6/23/2010 8:21:28 PM

I know.. What pathetic loser feels the need to do this to me? it keeps throwing me off track, face the facts, I need the big and black

GFOS_ 6/24/2010 12:21:18 AM


Godfatherofsoul_ 6/24/2010 12:36:49 AM

I'm African-American

Godfather_ 6/24/2010 2:16:18 AM

Of course... due to the sheer amount of african - american DNA i receive daily via the rectum. Yes, then in fact, I am african-american, and I have that michael jackson desiese too that turns you white.

yourbriansowt_ 6/24/2010 4:12:55 PM




Robertredford_ 7/1/2010 8:23:44 AM

I know this has nothing to do with anything here, but I still LOVE Hatebreed. They get heavier with each new album, and the breakdowns get even more breakdowny. Jasta is GOD \m/

fk_ 3/16/2011 7:34:08 PM

pretty good review for good ol' starweather. one of the more interesting albums of 2010. the vinyl and gate-fold came out nicely