« The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow) » is the debut full-length from Connecticut’s Pristina. And don’t be misled by the fact that there are only five tracks herein, because the total running time clocks in at just over 45 minutes of dark, schizophrenic insanity. The vocals alone range from scathing screams and guttural growls/shouts to spoken passages or even some Neurosis-esque crooning. And the music? Where to begin!? Built largely upon a base of explosively chaotic bursts and acerbic textures reminiscent of 90’s metalcore, the compositions are constantly swirling from ridiculously heavy, churning, dissonant grooves to scorching death metal runs; unexpected dashes of hardcore-influenced power chords; eerie acoustic passages; roving basslines; blasting, hammering and/or jazzy and/or ritualistic percussion; surging melodies; samples; ambient noise textures… and on and on. And they somehow manage to focus all of this into a relentlessly intense assault that actually makes sense!? Channel said focus into songs that range from three-and-a-half minutes to the massive 23-minute title track (which makes up half of the album and includes stellar guest appearances from Bloodlet’s Scott Angelacos, Today is the Day’s Steve Austin, and Starkweather’s Rennie Resmini) and you’ve got yourself a keeper.