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Den Conjure an “Iron Desert,” the Perfect Otherworldly Landscape

den iron desert

Equal parts psychedelic, doom, and noise, Chicago trio Den upends your mind’s wavelengths instead of just amplifying them. Their forte involves combining heady, fuzzed-out atmospherics with gloomy grooves and plenty of overhead roar (lending itself also to a captivating live performance). The project began nearly a decade ago, spawning debut full-length Exhausted in 2014 and a number of EPs, all of which now feel culminatory in the harsh negative light of Iron Desert, Den’s second full-length due out Friday. We’ve got the exclusive full stream below, a near-perfect brain-melter for a Tuesday afternoon if there ever was one.

Whether it’s the opening plod of “Svalbard” and its mighty dirge or the minimalist noise/vocal excursions of tracks like “Bones & Flies,” Den never so much begs for your attention as it does just capture it, stealthily. The band utilizes silence itself as a musical tool — not a novel concept, but one still hard to execute within the framework of an album so otherwise brutally compromising. Iron Desert also eschews any “bad vibes” (whatever that really means) for those more neutral and contemplative; in other words, this album isn’t a constrictor or something claustrophobic. Instead, it’s expansive in its darkness but gives you a source of light so you can render the void’s minute details. And how harrowing those details are, right down to Iron Desert‘s excellently grimy production and “more than you asked for” attitude.

Iron Desert releases Friday via Corpse Flower Records.

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