All Are To Return Capture Isolation’s Agony On “AATR II” EP (Early EP Stream)
All Are to Return don’t want to allow anyone inside. One could’ve predicted that from the industrial noise duo’s anonymity—they offer no information about themselves—their press photos, in which they adorn face-covering black hoods, or the trypophobia-inducing cover of their new EP, All Are to Return II (or, shortened as on the album art, "AATR II"), which we’re premiering in full ahead of its November 26 release. Listen to it somewhere with window access lest the grayscale surroundings start contorting into angularity.
Music’s renewed interest in isolation (for obvious reasons) has brought albums about triumphing through boredom, reacquainting oneself with deeper self-knowledge, and black metal-cum-grindcore RPGs. Yet few captured isolation’s joylessness like All Are to Return. They twist doldrum’s solitude until what was once mundane becomes perverse. It’s all done with a minimalist ensemble; detached guitar howls, disembodied vocals that pierce concrete, and synths that slither down the walls.
All Are to Return II is formless. Most of the songs don’t follow transcribed trajectories. Instead, they lay in the purgatory between mood pieces and found-footage films. The duo manipulates varying volumes and frequencies as industrial drums and wreaths of feedback skulk throughout the EP. These regular sonic shifts mean that All Are to Return II is an active listening experience. For example, while it’s deeply unsettling on its own, the post-punk evolution of “De Profundis” is more appreciable when considered in the context of the entire project. It’s the first time All Are to Return confront rather than threaten. They finally step into the light and the climax is all the more gripping because of the EP’s preceding duress.
Of course, there’s no levity on All Are to Return II. It wasn’t made to relieve stress. It’s not a release. You don’t come to an EP like this looking for solace. You come to witness the slow degradation of form, of shapes rotting away, without an inch of empathy.
The band says:
An exhausted multitude wasting away, beholden to mass-produced desire. Each screen a window without sky, nothing there but echo-chambers of anxiety. Watchtowers of mirrored glass. The opacity of power that permeates, produces and subjugates. All of us confined to the fragmented totality of arbitrary surveillance. No world beyond to which one might flee.
All Are to Return II is available November 26 via Tartarus Records.