Gloom with a view on John Bas­sett’s lat­est.

Prog - - Intro - GRM

KingBathmat have been a reg­u­lar, wel­come pres­ence on th­ese pages over the years, as has their linch­pin John Bas­sett, whose epony­mous al­bum Un­earth and his Ar­cade Mes­siah project have both re­ceived pos­i­tive re­views. Ac­cord­ing to its blurb, Dark Days was never re­ally meant to be a KingBathmat al­bum, but Bas­sett as­sem­bled a set of songs that fit­ted their style, and the name’s still a draw in niche cir­cles. They’re down to two mem­bers now: only Bas­sett – who sings and plays all in­stru­ments here – and drum­mer Bernie Smirnoff re­main. One senses a tale there, which could ac­count in part for the jet-black tone of th­ese five songs. The band’s trade­mark tune­ful­ness is present, but there’s an in­ef­fa­ble, al­most gothic dread lurk­ing in the catchy ti­tle track, me­tal­lic Tis Pity She’s A Whore and sludgy Mag­net To Pain. Th­ese amp up the rock and dial down the proggy pre­ten­sions, but the in­stru­men­tal break­down amid the nine-minute Feath­ers is as in­tensely melodic and in­tel­li­gent as any­thing they’ve done. Ni­hilist’s shim­mer­ing, spaghetti-space-western intro gui­tars give way to one heart­break­ing in­stru­men­tal. Look­ing at th­ese songti­tles again, would some­one just nip over to Bas­sett Tow­ers for us and check the guy’s okay?

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