Lee M. Bartow is living proof that learning is indeed a life-long process. After years of proliferating breathless rage, time after time with Navicon Torture Technologies, we saw a transition. Now, there is transformation. This new place that Leech occupies is that of a man who has actually moved on from the helplessness of a chained, rabid dog, to the heights of a man who, now in his 40s, has mastered the saving grace that has earned him the respect and admiration of many. When once it was routine to have this person tear to shreds in concept heartless betrayals and abandonment, it was easy to see with the minds eye him writhing among the decay of it all, wondering if “catharsis” ever really came. With the release of “The Gospels of the Gash”, Lee said “I don’t have that shit in me anymore”. He doesn’t. This album proves it.
“Chasms” is right. There isn’t a single track on this release that does not feel expansive, and yet not abysmal. These tracks are defined spaces, finite, and ample in duration to the point of stating what has to be said, and being done with it. There is maturity even in the scaffolding of the songs, down to their names. After listening to this album over a course of months, (while only a few others could as well) I feel it is fair to say the work presented on “Chasms” is the best reflection of Lee as a person, and not the flesh-ridden, desperately vindictive, and scarred being amplified through synth and pedal. I believe that when Leech became Theologian Prime, he stated with a name that he was ready to be something that fit the vision of a Hierophant some might envision when hearing it, to be respected, to impart his wisdom of experience in a more composed and unflinchingly somber way.
There is a pervasive ambience this time around. It is pronounced, and provides the space on which very other desolate or violent sound is placed. While the work is weighted down by drone and soundscape, there is still enough of an element of Power Electronics, and in Lee’s style, to provide continuity in the line of what has come and what will hopefully be in his career. It is difficlut to not overstate my stupor in this situation with regard to the fact that there are some very unexpected and glorious new textures in this album. I had planned to absorb this piece slowly, with every intention of noting every impression as it lingered at whatever intervals it did. I couldn’t do it. It was too difficult, and caught me at a time when my own abilities to write for the Pack felt like an embarrassing stagnation.
The name here says one very important thing to me: Lee M. Bartow has a big heart. He’s telling you himself with a phrase like the title. Chasms are large, significant scars upon a the land, deep, but not without end. The heart is defaced, wounded, imperfect, with many rifts… and yet, it remains.
Written by: Rexington Steel
Label: Crucial Blast / CD/ Cat. #: CBR104
1 Abandon All Hope
2 Starvation Is A Legitimate Weapon Of War
3 My Body Is Made Of Ash…I Live As Ash
4 We Can’t All Be Victims
5 I Don’t Exist
6 Bed Of Maggots
7 The Chasms Of My Heart
8 Every Road Leads To Abandonment