Consider this the soundtrack to a hellish landscape of molten metal -- pools of orange-hot alloys hissing poison clouds of vapor, industrial machines clanging and thumping in the distance. The Goslings -- just three of them, husband Max playing guitar (and, perhaps even more critically, feedback), wife Lisa howling distorted vocals, and friend Steve keeping doomish-slow time on drums -- make such viscous, suffocating layers of sound that to listen is to be pulled inexorably into quicksand. "Brindle" opens with a pure scream of industrial feedback, gong-like cymbal crashes giving ritual tone to sonic torment. Then there's space between the clashes, allowing long, static-distorted guitar tones to emerge from the corners. Vocals, entering three minutes into this extended meditation, float free, eerily beautiful over the note-bending chaos. The composition is unexpectedly, unpredictably beautiful, misshapen elements combining in a harmonious whole. "Dehlilahia", too, finds a grandeur in its buzz-laden run of flamenco notes, a mysterious harmony in its airy, womanly vocals, and the ten-minute "Seed" coaxes the calm center from discordant, volume-stretched electric guitar sound.
No one can keep this up forever, and The Goslings take a short, serene break in the bird-song embellished "Morning Jewel". "Yellow Sky", which follows, is also atypically melodic and tranquil, built on long, fluctuating tones and a distant highway roar. The best, though, comes late in the disc: "Blood a Necklace" is an onslaught of long-held drones and thumping, trudging rhythms. The crash and clash morphs into a MBV-ish miasma of wonderfully distorted sounds, which somehow become soft and inviting under the keening chant of a woman singing.
Between the Dead was not recorded for clarity, and even at its loudest it can feel remote and untouchable. That's part of the pull of this symphony of distortion, which conjures unreal landscapes with its shifting layers of sound.