What could drive almost a thousand people to take their own lives at the same time as allowing the same thing to happen to their children? Religious fanaticism and total devotion to a person capable of placating all of them may be plausible explanations, but when faced with the dramatic dimensions of the event, they are hard to understand. The huge tragedy of the Jonestown mass suicide, which took place in Guyana in 1978, still presents many obscure points, including those relating to the person who was the author and perpetrator of it all, the sadly known Jim Jones. The half-eyed face you see on the cover of Dronestown belongs to the man who, in the collective imagination, will always be associated with one of the greatest massacres of civilians that the Western world remembers, apart from the attacks. Shadow Of The Torturer, in all this, do not judge or comment, but rather pose as a formidable vehicle capable of transmitting to our ears the horror and terror that, probably, even the most fanatical and devoted of Jones’ followers, must have experienced in those dramatic moments. The Seattle trio have produced one of the most annihilating works of the last few years: their sludge doom, slowed down to a crawl, first prepares the ground with the already formidable eighteen minutes of Indianapolis / Ukiah (which recalls the beginnings of the church founded by Jones), but it is with We Are A Righteous People / Guyana that they push the limits of psychic tolerance. More than twenty minutes taken from the original recordings of those dramatic moments are accompanied by dilated riffs, which prove to be the perfect soundtrack, capable of amplifying to excess the dismay that the listener feels when hearing the discussions among the followers, the rambling arguments of Jones, but especially the cries of children, the real victims in every age and every latitude of religion, the only virus that humanity should really fear. Listening to Dronestown goes beyond the perception of a musical work, it is an experience that leaves one shaken, tried, helpless in the face of the enormity of what is happening in that remote piece of equatorial forest. Maybe someone has tried to do something similar in the past, frankly I don’t know, but in any case, Shadow Of The Torturer‘s is the only possible accompaniment for sounds that are not just a series of sampled voices from a horror movie, but the testimony of an absolutely real fact. Doom usually deals with topics that always have to do with death, but since it mostly refers to psychic disorders or events that lend themselves to a metaphorical interpretation, it ends up having an almost cathartic effect and the evocation of sadness and despair, at the end of the listening, leaves the senses muffled just long enough for life to resume its swinging course. With Dronestown it’s damn different, here the pain is tangible, almost physical, and it’s not enough to turn off the player to shake off the weight of what you’ve heard up to that moment; this album is, in the end, a masterpiece of which, to grasp its real essence, you must be willing to suffer almost with stoicism the wall of suffering that is thrown on us. For those who are not afraid to immerse themselves in the terrifying world of Shadow Of The Torturer, this version published by Memento Mori contains as a bonus track the song Afterlife / Cities Of The Damned, originally released on the occasion of the split with Ghost Of Wem, and able to demonstrate even to the most skeptical that the trio from Seattle has the gift of being able to compose a sludge doom really devastating even without being necessarily associated with events, such as the massacre of Jonestown, capable of amplifying the emotional impact.
2013 – Blind Date Records