As the former frontman for Isis — a Boston band whose name is really only unfortunate in retrospect — Aaron Turner helped establish the idea of drawn-out, sensitive interior music in the world of underground metal. Isis were a hugely influential band in their day, and Turner has remained a towering presence with other projects like his now-defunct label Hydra Head Records and with Old Man Gloom, his long-running experimental-doom side project. Since 2014, Turner has also led Sumac, a power trio that also features Russian Circles bassist Brian Cook and Baptists drummer Nick Yacyshyn. Today, we get a new Sumac jam.
Turner has been busy this year; Old Man Gloom have released two different albums since quarantine started. This fall, Sumac will follow up their 2016 double LP What Becomes with a new album called May You Be Held. The band announced the new album a little while ago, but they haven’t shared any of its tracks until now.
“The Iron Chair,” the first single from May You Be Held, is the result of in-studio improvisation, and it sounds like it. On the song, the three members of the band never fully launch into a groove. Instead, they spend eight minutes doing atmospheric dances around one another. It’s basically what would happen if doom metal became abstract jazz. Check it out below.
May You Be Held is out 10/2 on Thrill Jockey.