Insect Ark is one project of many from polymath Dana Schechter. The Vanishing, her third release under this moniker, features Schechter on bass guitar, lap steel, electronics, and synths, while Andy Patterson takes on drumming duties. Collectively, they produce a compelling all-instrumental release that lands somewhere between metal and King Crimson inflected prog rock, with a sprinkling of doom, psychedelia, and post-rock. More obscure comparisons might include Catatonic Effigy and Warren Schoenbright.
Regardless of influences or loose categorizations, Insect Ark gives us six heavy, plodding ruminations. Despite being a duo, Schechter’s multi-instrumentalism and liberal use of overdubs results in The Vanishing having a think, dense sound. Anchored by heavy riffs and pounding rhythms, the lap steel adds a melancholic twang while the synths flesh out this dark atmosphere. Toward the second half of the album, the pace slows and comes across as being more open and improvised. The emphasis switches to dissonant textures, and the mood combines walls of sound into something resembling a symphonic approach.
Ultimately, Insect Ark is a heavy rock band that employs unusual instrumentation and solid writing to great effect. The Vanishing hits the shelves on February 28.