Deserts can be one of the most inspiring pieces of biomes that inhabit not just sprawling landscapes with areas shaped by years of erosion, but the desolation factor is at times, unbearable. Holy Death channels this unsustainable environment, molding much of the Mojave into M M X I X through four tracks and 23 minutes.
While never fully compiling as one complex machine, Holy Death instead can springboard from the systematic bass and low-tuned guitar where the percussive elements become backing crashes of sound. Even on the opening track “M M X I X” that is more of a tension-building pour-over, Holy Death here is straight-forward and prefers vanquish to be a theme over charcoal easels.
The transition that “M M X I X” has into “Guillotine Baptism” is fairly sudden and warps the pulsing instrumentation to become something much more sinister with each step. The record as M M X I X is shortened for a doom metal record, but packs this want to be revisited for its almost clean-cut harshness that is frank and does not develop much of a break in style till the final moments of the album. But through the slick string work and somewhat jazz-infused riffs on “Guillotine Baptism,” Holy Death burns and etches jam sessions onto wax.
Where the construction is more about the build-up and foundation before the final product, M M X I X is a shining example of how doom can be quite inviting at times. The piece of “Dream Reaper” is so closely related to the surge of desert heat and a sluggish demise under the sun’s ray. Then about two minutes later, the track erupts as swells of noise and backing static engulf the listener and become daunting. The method changes frequently which to Holy Death’s effort and benefit, is a foreseeable return for the record.
As M M X I X begins to shut the parlor doors, the theme of solitude within one’s self is present continuously. The mind begins to play tricks on itself, forming an untrustworthy bond to burnt extinction, withering away under warmth.