In a year that has already delivered amazing new records from Yob, Pallbearer, Triptykon, Thou, Eyehategod, and Indian (among others), it’s pretty close to impossible to show up in mid-November with an album of sludge/funeral doom and make any sort of impact. But Random Cosmic Violence — the sophomore LP from Portland, OR’s Usnea — arrives with the force of an asteroid, and leaves behind a fucking crater. That metaphor applies in more ways than one: As its title implies, Random Cosmic Violence directs its focus heavenward. Speaking about the record, the band said:
The concept of the album is eponymous to the title; that we are here, not thanks to the intentional mechanisms of some benevolent supreme being or some kind of conscious sentient energy in the universe, but due to random cosmic violence. Celestial bodies have been exploding and bouncing around the universe (possibly multi-verses but the science isn’t conclusive on that yet) and exchanging particles, atoms, energy, transmuting from one form to another, and somehow, on a cold dark rock next to one star out of countless stars, life evolved in all of its earthly forms and here we are, as far as we know, the only life form on Earth and anywhere that we have found yet, that is able to look up at the sky and explore the universe for the origin of how this all happened.
In that regard, it has a lot in common with another one of this year’s best metal releases (from another Portland, OR-based band): Agalloch’s The Serpent & The Sphere. And like that album, Random Cosmic Violence has a Floydian vastness that both balances and amplifies the overwhelming, crushing heaviness. Like the night sky itself, Random Cosmic Violence is full of terror and awe and ice and fire. It is a massive, monumental thing. We’ve got the full album for you to stream today, and you should do so.
Random Cosmic Violence is out 11/11 via Relapse.