Something unlike anything you’ve heard before, SEVERANCE is the 9th release from multi-instrumentalist, compulsive creator, and unrepentant volume addict Timo Ellis (Cibo Matto, Spacehog, Yoko Ono) under the NETHERLANDS moniker. Officially out on the 31st of March 2023 via Svart Records, SEVERANCE features all the hallmarks of Ellis’ work, including blistering post-shred guitar heroics, primal drumming, and soulful, yet searing caterwauls. But as with every NETHERLANDS release, Ellis has inexplicably found a way to ratchet up the intensity, render the dynamic shifts more extreme, and hone his menacing melange of melody and rhythm into a uniquely weaponized form of rock ‘n’ roll that reaches towards high art.
While Ellis is perpetually working, he’s not one to work with without a grander purpose than loud music for the sake of loud music. He adds:
SEVERANCE, the title track, describes the tragic predicament of how our “species” gets more and more dangerously disconnected from our experience as Earth-bound, collective animals; about how our foundational hyper-materialist (and human-supremacist) notions of civilizational “progress” and “the future” delude us to into endlessly, blindly exploiting and destroying each other, all of the Earth’s remaining life support systems…along with whatever remaining senses of beauty, magic, and mystery still even exist at this point.
An album exploring topics as heavy as the ones SEVERANCE tackles requires sonics to match. For Ellis — a prolific producer and engineer himself — the skills and peerless engineering sensibilities of tastemaking heavy music producer Kurt Ballou (Converge, High On Fire) and the hallowed walls of Ballou’s God City Studio in Salem, Mass, proved the ideal space to capture the record’s massive sounds. For Ellis, Ballou’s unmatched attention to detail and “comprehensive tuning” of the drum and organic guitar sounds on SEVERANCE proved to be an x-factor in capturing the most monstrous and fully refined NETHrock release to date.
An album which makes it easy to understand why contemporary heavy metal luminaries like Joe Duplantier of Gojira and Bill Kelliher of Mastodon count themselves amongst NETHrock’s biggest fans, SEVERANCE is another chapter in the book of a band that’s consistently released heavy music on its own terms and with its own undeniable personality.
Svart Records proudly presents SEVERANCE by NETHERLANDS out on CD, black- and transparent red vinyl colorways and digital platforms on March 31st 2023.