Sometimes you don’t feel like getting your head kicked in. Sometimes you maybe just wanna give your brain a swirl. Diminishing, an industrial, ambient drone metal duo, can help you with the later. The new project formed by Gridfailure genius Dave Brenner and his Texas-based partner in crime, Lane Oliver (Yatsu), offers up a miasma of dark tones, distorted vocals and dirge-psych landscapes to get lost in on their full-length debut, The Unnamable.
All sounds on The Unnamable were performed, recorded, and mixed by Brenner and Oliver, using all manner of vocals, guitars/bass, keys/synth, percussion, field recordings and more. Mastering was handled by Dan Emery at Black Matter Mastering (Kool Keith, Steve Von Till, Thetan). The Unnamable is set for release on deluxe cassette and all digital platforms June 16. Find preorders at Anti-Corporate Music here and at Diminishing’s Bandcamp here.
In lieu of a quote from the band about its debut full-length, we’re offering up a track-by-track narrative from both members (below the Bandcamp player).
Oliver: “An Emptiness” opens the record on a nihilistic note. The “narrator,” if you will, muses on the futility of existence. It’s a theme that appears repeatedly on the record, but it is also a theme that is purposely contradicted in some passages. The push-and-pull between pessimism and the desire for meaning flows throughout The Unnamable to capture the emotional turmoil of existential crises.
Brenner: The gnarled moans and dismal rain at the front of this set the demoralizing mood for the entire album. Lane wrote 99% of the album’s lyrics around a central theme and this one sets that up right from the start. Lane plays main guitar and synth, I handle vocals plus guitar, bass, synth, effects, field recordings.
The Rats I’ve Fed
Oliver: The song is about giving yourself to things and people without properly taking care of yourself. It’s about the burnout and distress one experiences when boundaries aren’t established and maintained. It’s about the dark side of “selflessness,” which is a topic touched upon later in the album as well.
Brenner: This song really encapsulates the core tone and concept of the record; it was the first song we released when we announced the album. Lane on main guitar, I supply percussion, keys, and effects, and we both handle vocals.
That Sinking Feeling
Oliver: “That Sinking Feeling” touches upon those moments of existential dread one experiences when reflecting on mortality. Is there life after death? Do we really want to know if there is? We push it to the back of our mind, but these questions always return. In contrast to the opening track’s overt nihilism, this track is about being confronted with uncertainty.
Brenner: This was one of the first songs we put together, back when we were still working on this as a collaboration between my project Gridfailure and Lane’s prior project, Feel Happiness. He ended that project when we had this record heavily underway, so that’s when we decided to make this a new band and we leaned into pushing it into some new directions as its own project. This is the most harrowing emo song ever. Lane on vocals, guitar, and synth, and I play acoustic guitar, some percussion, and pedal effects.
No Fire, No Fanfare
Oliver: The topic of uncertainty returns in this track. Here it’s assumed that there is no heaven or hell. What happens after death, if anything at all, cannot be comprehended. The “narrator,” however, still wishes that some form of an afterlife exists. They express their desire to see a dead loved one again, and ask said loved one to guide them over to the “other side.”
Brenner: We share vocal duties again on this one. Lane hits the track with a barrage of improvisational guitar, and I play bass, keys, percussion, and coat it all in some caustic pedal effects.
Oliver: Athazagoraphobia is the fear of forgetting someone, something, or being forgotten. The latter is the theme of this song. It’s about trying so desperately to do something significant with your life before death, but ultimately being erased by time. This topic is touched upon again in the final track.
Brenner: The steady pulse-type beat provides a slow-motion rhythm of steady erosion; it never picks up or completely diminishes. Sharing vocals, Lane handles guitars and I create the rhythm section/arua with bass, percussion, keys, effects. A real bummer.
Oliver: Much like “The Rats I’ve Fed,” this track speaks on the dark side of selflessness. It’s about neglecting yourself to help others in need because you feel you don’t deserve the same treatment.
Brenner: We initially named this song “Selfless,” but we just thought it was too Godfleshian and we changed it at the last minute. This is another early track that ties heavily into the overall theme of the record. Lane does the vocals on this one as well as guitar, I supply bass, percussion, and the overall aura of dread.
Brenner: The only instrumental song on the album, it still thematically ties into the woe and despair of the record. We initially chose the title of this song as the name of the band but it was already taken by another group. Lane on guitar, I play bass, analogy synth, and of course some powerelectronics scourge.
Oliver: Now we arrive at the title track. “The Unnamable” refers to the unknowable state of existence, or non-existence, upon death. The “narrator” ponders their inevitable death and how they will never be ready for it. Just like in “No Fire, No Fanfare,” they express the desire to see their dead loved ones again. They want to experience some sort of afterlife. They want their life to have meant something. The title of the song and album is taken from Samuel Beckett’s novel of the same name. The opening and closing lines of the title track are lifted from the text.
Brenner: The album doesn’t really have an apex or peak; the final song feels like a bit of a breaking point, but here we are on the next-to-last song and at this point the tension that begins at the beginning of the album has not ceased in any way. If the listener makes it this far into the record, they’re likely experiencing a suffocating sense of dread or anxiety. Lane and I both contribute the vocals and different types of synth, Lane also supplies guitar and some piano, I throw down the beat and effects.
The Culmination of Years of Self-Abuse
Oliver: This song is about wasting years of your life tearing yourself down. It’s about trying to make up for that lost time by doing something worthwhile and meaningful, but ultimately succumbing to the delusion that time has run out for you. It’s about that vicious cycle of self-abuse that’s hard to break.
Brenner: The breaking point; an explosion of pained vocals fuel its dirge. I remember nearly passing out and having a headache for hours after recording vocals for this. There is no happy ending to this album, no actual release of tension, no resolution, and the pressure at this point is crushing the foundation of this narrator’s being. Sharing vocal duties again, Lane handles guitar, I supply analog synth, some xylophone/bells, effects, and field recordings.