Posts Tagged ‘Crossover’

BISOU Records/Beast Records – 18th March 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Sometimes, there’s simply no escaping the fact that grooves and hooks are important. However wearying the conventions of rock and pop are so much of the time, there’s still a vital appeal. Sometimes you just need something to grab hold of, something to grip your short, feeble attention span. But what happens when you bring all the conventions together at once and then mash them, bash them, squash and smoosh them with joyful irreverence? It goes one of two ways: it’s a horrible hybrid mess with no cohesion, or it’s genius. Supersound is genius. It mines many aspects of those conventions to forge an album that’s got groove and hooks, while making unusual takes on country, rockabilly and post-punk, and wrapping them in an abundance of noise that’s pretty gnarly at times. It’s all in the mix – blues rock, alt-rock, grunge, even regular radio rock – but delivered in a twisted, mangled fashion that’s guaranteed to keep it off the airwaves.

The story of the creation of this masterwork is decidedly un-rock’n’roll as it involves Red (Olivier Lambin) suffering from presbyopia and purchasing a bass because it has ‘bigger frets and fewer strings’ and recruiting a collective who can actually see to play their instruments to realise his musical vision. It’s perhaps no wonder it’s a blurry haze of bits and bobs. Said lineup involves ‘two drummers, Néman (Zombie Zombie, Herman Düne) and DDDxie (The Shoes, Rocky, Gumm)’ who Red asked to create their own rhythms, plus Jex, aka Jérôme Excoffier, his lifelong accomplice, who still has excellent eyesight, who played all the guitars on the album.

A strolling bass and jagged guitar slew angular lines on ‘Normal’ that’s spineshaking swamp rock, sounding like a collision between the B52s and The Volcanoes. ‘Ready to Founce’ has all the groove and all the swagger, and has the glorious grittiness of Girls Against Boys at their scuzzy, sleaze-grind best, calling to mind ‘Rockets Are Red’. Then, ‘Shark’ sounds like Butthole Surfers covering an early Fall Song. ‘Screen Kills’ is altogether gothier, with acres of flange swathing the trebly guitar, and all paths lead to the tense, needling jabbing jangle of the final song of the album, ‘Carcrash Disasters’. It could have so easily been tempting fate, but while they veer wildly and screech around every corner on two wheels, DER remain on the road to the end of a crazy conglomeration of an album that buzzes from start to finish.

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Cruel Nature Records – 11th March 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

This is something that the CD or digital release simply cannot really do justice to as a full, multi-faceted, multi-sensory experience: the split LP. And while I’m more of a fan of vinyl and cassette, this most certainly does the job: you have to turn the thing over. It is truly an album of two halves. In this case, half Benbow, and half Strssy. And while some split releases simply stick two artists back to back – and there’s nothing wrong with that – Benbow and Strssy have history.

As the biographical notes detail, they first met ‘in a basement café in Lausanne, Switzerland just before the first sliced loaf was presented at the World’s Fair. Benbow had just finished a tour of the Alps with wandering trapeze troupe, NORMAL MAN while Strssy had taken a well-earned sabbatical from conjoined mime act, DIET PILLS. Over the following years they exchanged correspondence and encouragement as they independently began making experimental electronic music’. This split release, then, is pitched as ‘a celebration of this journey’.

Benbow’s eight cuts make for a hell of a journey in their own right. The tone is far from celebratory: it’s dark, claustrophobic, driven by dense beats and even denser atmosphere. Short, fragmentary snippets that straddle the space between sketched ideas and something more fully realised, all bar two are under three minutes in duration, but pack in a lot. Broadly, Benbow explores the tropes of minimalist, dark-hip hop, with thwacking solid beats and phat bass that gnaws at the gut with simple repetitive motifs or only three of four notes. It’s kinda heavy, and the effect is cumulative.

‘Slowly’ grinds, chugs, and churns away, the bass thick and gnarly amidst a swirl of reverberating synth oscillations that emulate the nagging call of a siren toward the end. Benbow’s final track, ‘Two’ marks quite a shift, with strings galore and an altogether lighter mood.

Strssy similarly trades in contrasts and juxtapositions. ‘Off a Watering Can’ starts out gentle, but when the beat kicks in, it’s pretty bloody heavy, and the mood changes significantly. It’s no longer chillout, ambience, but dense and tense, and layers of noise build exponentially to incorporate shrill whistles of modular synth abuse. ‘Deep Interior’ is all the twitch and bleep against dank, rumbling caverns of sound and then, from nowhere, it’s more rapid and relentless wails like a misfiring smoke alarm, only with a squeaky toy embedded in the circuitry. On a bad day, I’d likely find this seriously fucking annoying, but in a balanced and objective mood, it’s possible to give kudos to the way in which Strssy incorporates dance elements into a more freeform approach to electronic music which also incorporates industrial and ambient leanings. ‘Bath Night’ is a thumping industrial melting pot that’s more like drowning slowly than floating serenely, while ‘A Beautiful Brown Catalogue’ is all about the bowels with its booming bass frequencies, plus additional wild trumpet action. It’s got that late 80s wax Trax! vibe, but with a more experimental twist, and it pinches the brain.

Paired, Benbow and Strssy make for a formidable duo, a tag-team of hard-hitting genre-splicing, slow-groove bashing behemoths.

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Forged in the fires of the East Coast underground music scene in the 90s, experimental Hip Hop pioneers, Union City, NJ-based duo Dälek has spent decades carving out a unique niche fusing hardcore Hip Hop, noise and a radical approach to sound. Their brutal sonic temperament pushes rap music’s capacity for noise and protest to some exhilarating conclusions.

Following in the footsteps of their predecessors Public Enemy while drawing from influences as varied as My Bloody Valentine and German experimentalists Faust, Dälek have succeeded in adding completely new textural and structural dimensions to rap music.

A visceral and powerful live act, Dälek spent over a decade touring and bringing their raucous and blistering performances to audiences around the world. During this time they toured with and supported a wide range of acts in the Hip Hop, Rock, Metal, and Experimental genres including Flying Lotus, De La Soul, TOOL, The Melvins, Grandmaster Flash, Pharcyde, Fantomas, KRS One and The Bug.

For their latest and eighth album, Precipice, Dälek unleashes a work that is practically bristling with fury and power. Arriving on April 29th via Ipecac Recordings. Predominantly the work of the core duo, Will Brooks, aka MC Dälek and Mike Manteca (Mike Mare), Precipice features a guest appearance of Adam Jones of Tool on one of the album’s tracks. The band has enlisted Paul Romano (Mastodon) for the striking cover art, and the packaging features the art of Mikel Elam.

Today Dälek are sharing a video for the brickyard boom-bap track ‘Decimation (Dis Nation)’ which was directed by Brooks and can be viewed here:

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Initiated before the outbreak of COVID-19, the group briefly put Precipice on hold before returning to inject a newer, more dynamic energy into the album’s songs. The result is a timely work, that is teaming with immediacy.

Precipice was a completely different record pre-pandemic.” MC Dälek explains. “We had been working on the sketch of what the album was going to be at the end of 2019. I think me and (Mike) Manteca had narrowed it down to 17 joints out of the 46 or so that we had started with. Me and Joshua Booth had taken the 17 and really fleshed out the joints. The idea was to bounce them back to Mike and then arrange and write lyrics. 2020 obviously had different plans for everybody. We basically put everything on hold. I ended up doing the MEDITATIONS series that year on my own. I think the catharsis of that project, its rawness, the pandemic, all the death, the social upheaval, everything that went down… when I went back and listened to what we had down… it just wasn’t right anymore, it wasn’t strong enough, it wasn’t heavy enough, it wasn’t angry enough. It just didn’t say what I needed it to say.

With Precipice, Dälek have once again tapped into the heartbeat of the day and used that energy to create a vital statement about the world we live in. Continuing in the long tradition of revolutionary Hip Hop, Precipice builds new cadences born out of tumultuous times.

After decades of challenging and expanding the sonic fabric of Hip Hop itself, giving way to new approaches and possibilities, Dälek is set to take their rightful place as one of the culture’s true innovators.

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Photo Credit: MICHAEL PATRAS

Bisou Records – BIS-019-U-B – 2nd December 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Maybe it’s because I’m tired, and I’ve had quite a bewildering couple of weeks in terms of dayjob and quite simply life, but this is one of those band bios that leave me wondering quite simply ‘what the fuck?’ and more specifically ‘is this for real?’ Either I’m delirious, or this really is completely off-the-wall nutsness.

The facts, it seems are that The Snobs were ‘Formed by brothers Mad Rabbit (singer and producer) and Duck Feeling (multi-instrumentalist) near Paris’ and that Blend The Horse! was written and recorded between spring 2019 and autumn 2020.

Is this a real band? Then I read that the track ‘Long Winter Evenings’ follows a sonata form blending ethereal singing and a motorik groove’ and that ‘Over a minimalist rhythm section borrowing from Joy Division, Miles Davis and Kraftwerk, The Snobs restate their loyalty to rock music with Tropical Fuck Storm’s sharp guitars. Tropical Fuck Storm sounds like a character from Mark Manning’s warped rock-band novel Get Your Cock Out, and this is surely satire… right? Right?

Nope, it’s just whacky and irreverent, and it reminds me that not so long ago, humour and irony were commonplace, and art was whatever it wanted to be. And so since their formation at the turn of the millennium, The Snobs Have built quite a body of work, with a substantial number of releases recorded in collaboration with artists of various disciplines and styles. Blend The Horse! presents six compositions – bookended by songs that stretch beyond the ten-minute mark – that explore a massive range.

‘Long Winter Evenings’ is a minimalist protoindustrial effort, but then about three minutes in, there’s a kind of baggy / rappy break, before it spirals into some kind of psychedelic electro that’s a bit trippy, driven by a droning bass while squdgy bleeps and all kinds of going on go on. It’s an intense and eye-opening way to open an album. It feels cohesive, but it feels uncomfortable at the same time, and not just because it’s a genre-defying melting pot of hybridization.

There is a lot going on, even when there seemingly isn’t. ‘The Low Angle’ is sparse and minimal in its arrangement, with a thick, ambulating bassline dominating the arrangement. It’s low, slow, and dubby, and an exemplar of the ‘less is more’ adage.

What to make of this? It’s kinda trip-hop, kinda low-tempo hip hop with an experimental leaning, kinda… kinda what, exactly? There are expansive reverbs and echoes in the mix is, too, and it’s hard to know what to make of it.

Sonically it feels dislocated and difficult, with no real specific plan set: lo-fi, bedroomy wooziness lumbers and lurches as old-school drum machines provide crispy snare cracks around the reimagined Bowieness of ‘Plastic moon’, and as the thumping industrial drums of ‘Cable Call’ that combines the looping synths of KMFDM and the easy 90s popness of Jesus Jones and the like.

It’s a mish-mash of everything, and some of the elements work better than others, although there’s likely little benefit to dissecting which aspects of which track work or don’t, not least of all because there’s so much happening, and it sort of feels ‘outside’. Neoprog and post–rock melt into dreamy electro and shoegaze all mixed with a hefty dash of psychedelia, and no one of it makes sense, and yet, at the same time, it does. And it’s kinda nice, but kinda frustrating, too. It’s as though the range and exploratory nature of this project is prejudiced by an increasingly conservative market where genres and categories are core to marketing, and I’m aware I’m in some small way complicit in this process. But then, sometimes, an album simply doesn’t fit, and it’s not that Blend The Horse! doesn’t connect to any genres, so much as they’re all thrown in together to create a mind-bending stew.

‘The Sixth Dragonfly’ throws everything into the blender all at once, and it all happens, from mellow ambience to fill Nine Inch Nails guitar attack. It’s an eye-popping climax to an eye-popping set. It’s deranged, but a perfect summary of out times.

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30th April 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

I had something of what you might call an epiphany of sorts last night. I was cooking dinner, and as is standard, had put the TV on. I usually have it on mute and watch the news with subtitles while listening to a CD, but instead, while chopping veg for a healthy stir-fry, I had a music channel playing 80s hits, and it was good – mostly the early 80s, with some ABC and Aha (‘The Sun Always Shines in TV’ for change) before plummeting into the shit of Bros and Brother Beyond just before I served, at which point it went off. But it was during this unashamed nostalgiafest that I realised that for my daughter, who’s 9, the 80s are further in the past than the 60s were when I was her age. And that at her age, I had no interest in the 60s because it was so far back in history it was tinny, trebly, scratchy, dated, sepiatone or black and white. It was historical relics and I never got why my parents rated anything 60s. I still don’t really have much interest in the main.

But chowing my chow mein, I came to realise that things have changed, largely, one assumes, on account of the Internet. Now, we have truly hit peak postmodern in the sense that the historical is now part of the present, and everything and anything goes. The 60s likely feel a lot less distant and alien to a nine-year-old than to someone like me in their mid-40s, because they’re simply so much more accommodating.

And so it is that 23-year-old singer/songwriter Bethany Ferrie takes in a wide range of influences, from the likes of Fleetwood Mac to Lewis Capaldi, Kings of Leon to Taylor Swift. And also, I’m reminded that no longer is anyone purist in their allegiance to rock, pop, or folk. For those under thirty who can extricate themselves from the mundane bilge of R1 mediocrity, whereby music is so much wallpaper, music is music, and there are only two kinds – good and bad. There’s perhaps a certain naivete in the idea that all of these things sit together, but Bethany demonstrates an admirable songwriting prowess with her new single, ‘Bones’. The piano-led song is low-key, but layered, melodic yet heartfelt. It’s also one of those songs that has a slow, contemplative start, before bursting into a cinematic chorus, aided by some reverby production that really does the scope of the song justice.

Is it alternative? Is it niche? No. Is it commercial? In terms of R1 circa 2004 when Keane’s ‘Something Only We Know’ and playlists were wall-to-wall Coldplay, yes and no. ‘Bones’ isn’t dreary, drab, or manufactured, but does have clear commercial potential.

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Cruel Nature Records – 5th March 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Aiden Baker’s releases have become a regular feature here at Aural Aggravation. His prodigious output, not only as a solo artist, but through innumerable collaborations, often released through Gizeh Records, have given us no shortage of material to contemplate and ruminate over. It’s often hard to keep up with his output,

Stimmt was first released digitally back in 2015 on Broken Spine Productions, and has been was remixed and remastered for its first physical format outing via Cruel Nature in a limited edition of 60 cassettes (as well as digitally again).

Baker is to guitar what John Cage and Reinhold Friedl were / are to piano, with the ‘prepared’ guitar being a prominent feature of his musical arsenal, along with an array of other ‘alternative’ methods of playing, across a genre span that incorporates elements of rock, electronic, classical, and jazz, within his broadly ambient / experimental works

Stimmt sits at the more overtly ‘rock’ end of Baker’s stylistic spectrum, launching with the heavy riffology of ‘Dance of the Entartet’ that’s got a prog vibe but comes on with a heavily repetitious throb that owes more to Swans than Pink Floyd or Yes. The percussion crashes away hard but it’s almost buried in the overloading guitar assault that’s cranked up to the max and is straining to feed back constantly throughout, before it wanders off into ‘Atemlos’, where it’s the strolling bass that dominates as the guitars retreat to the background and sampled dialogue echoes through the slightly jazz-flavoured ripples. It’s here that things begin to feel less linear, more meandering, and the chiming post-rock sections feel less like an integral part of a journey and more like detours – pleasant, appropriate detours, but detours nevertheless – and it culminates in a climactic violin-soaked crescendo.

Veering between hazy shoegazey ambience that borders on abstraction, and mellifluous post-rock drifts, Stimmt is varied, and, oftentimes, rich in atmosphere. ‘Mir’ is very much a soporific slow-turner that casts a nod to Slowdive, but with everything slowed and sedated, wafting to an inconclusive finish.

The lumbering ‘Staerken’ stands out as another heavy-duty riffcentric behemoth: it’s low, it’s heavy, and finds Baker exploring the range of distortion effects on his pedal board, stepping from doom sludge to bolstering shred and back, and there’s a deep, crunchy bass that grinds away hard, boring at the bowels and hangs, resonating at the end.

After the full-on overloading ballast of ‘Quer’ that really does go all out on the abrasion, with squalling guitar paired with a nagging bass loop that’s reminiscent of The God Machine (the track as a while, calls to mind ‘Ego’ from their debut Songs From the Second Story), closer ‘Resolut’ is eight minutes of semi-ambient prog.

It’s a lot to digest, and it’s certainly not an easy pigeonhole, but it’s an intriguing album that stands out as being quite different both musically, and in the context of Baker’s output. Unusual but good, and offering much to explore.

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Cruel Nature Recordings – 29th January 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

The description sets the scene and the expectation perfectly: ‘True Archweigian Improve-Free-Grind-Noise-Experimental-Avant-Jazzcore. John Coltrane quadruple booked on the same stage as Extreme Noise Terror, Swans and The Incapacitants.

It sounds horrible and utterly brain-frying, and it is. ‘Deep Pan Magna Carta’ launches the album – a whopping sixteen-track sprawl that reveals something of a fixation with wolves and goats – with a barrage of crashing, chaotic percussion, gut-churning bass, wild horns and tortured vocals that spew larva from the very bowels of hell. And they’re clearly intent on dragging you there with them, into the pit of pain, because there is absolutely no fucking let-up. This is everything all at once – and while it’s relentlessly and uncompromisingly nasty, it certainly doesn’t confide itself to any one style – and as for genre, it’s a crazed hybrid mash-up, seemingly intended to inflict maximum pain – and if this is indeed the objective, they succeed.

Most of the tracks are around the minute mark – but actually feel much longer, as they drag and dredge their way through the deepest sludge. Believe it or not, that’s not a complaint or criticism, so much as an observation on how it feels to be brutally battered from all sides at once. There is, undoubtedly, an element of endurance required here.

As the band’s name and whacky, irreverent and possibly irrelevant (it’s impossible to tell without being able to decipher the lyrics) song titles suggest, we should probably only take this so seriously. But then, as the best comedians will tell you, comedy is serious business, and so it would seem is slugging out the harshest, brutal mess of noise.

Before long, they’re in full-tilt frenzied grindcore territory: ‘Wolf Goat’ is nine seconds of snarking and blastb(l)eats, followed immediately by the thirty-six second ‘Goat Wolf’, another blast of carnage that thunders at a thousand miles an hour. There’s some black metal nastiness in the mix when the snarling vocals deliver a snarling acappella intro to ‘hash, Weed, Pills, Saurkraut’. ‘Red sausage’ is about the only phrase I can pull out of the frenetic thrash that follows.

‘Natural Born Testicle’ takes a different turn: a howling blizzard of shrieking electronics and clean shouting, it’s a wild swing into power electronics, and is more reminiscent of Whitehouse than anything else.

It’s the manic horn action that really makes Blood & Stomach Pills the experience that it is. It’s chaotic, discordant, and above all, incongruous – but then again, it calls to mind the jazz-coloured noise of GOD, as well as recent work by Sly and the Family Drone – but this is probably the grindiest permutation of such crazed free jazz I’ve encountered yet.

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generate and test – 30th October 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

The blurb bewilders me before I hear a note, as I read how ‘ʇןǝɯs is a high density package crafted with care and luck from a rare mixture of ingredients. The four track MP (micro-package) takes you on a ride across a one- dimensional checkerboard landscape rendered in colors of euphoria and terror. Players emerge at side exits and diffuse presently. If the album title is unmanageable you can use the unoffending smelt.’

Delving deeper, I learn, ‘Entire package produced on-the-go using mobile phones, some of them rooted. Apps are Nanoloop, g-stomper, termux/python, different media recording apps. Custom app autovoice takes care of slicing the voice tracks and beat aligning them on the track.’

From this fragmentary non-narrative, I’m braced for something irregular, unusual, beyond boundaries, and that’s very much what this is. Micro-package is a fair description of an EP comprising four tracks, none of which really exceed two and a half minutes, although it doesn’t convey the flickering intensity of slow-tripping hip-hop that’s rooted in samplist, cut-up methodology with disjointed loops and fragments providing the fabric of this digital tapestry.

It may not be easy to follow, and at times so deeply immersed in obscure referencing and the exploration of the technology used to create the material, ʇןǝɯs feels as much like a case of experimentalism for its own sake than a document of artistic creativity. The titles are more or less impenetrable, at least in terms of their significance or relevance, although ‘very veird’ is quite odd, if not overtly Germanic, a collage of bleeps and a bubbling stew of vocals simmering over minimal beats and bloopy, stammering bass. It actually makes for a long two minutes, but the richness of the layering and density of the combined source materials is undeniably impressive.

There’s almost infinite bubble and fizz, crackled and grind, particularly on the closer, ‘argh uargh (kann ich ans handy?)’ where the title is a fair summary of the chaotic cacophony it contains.

ʇןǝɯs is messy and uncomfortable, but taking its sequence of input > process > output as a creative model, it’s likely the ultimate summary of 2020.

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Cruel Nature Recordings – 16th October 2020

New York’s Lip Critic return with their second album, imaginatively titled Lip Critic II. Now, I have a tendency – and I know it’s spurious – to associate numbered albums with prog and indulgence, ranging from Peter Gabriel to Led Zeppelin. But there is nothing remotely proggy or indulgent about Lip Critic’s second eponymous release, which crams nine tracks into 21 minutes of genre hybridity and maniacal mayhem. And make no mistake: this is intense and crazy shit, all going off in a boiler at once.

The lazy hookline would be that the album’s first track, ‘Why Not’, sounds like The B52s on acid, but more accurately, it sounds like The B52s on acid and meth imitating a fictitious Dead Kennedys / obscure hip-hop collaboration for the Judgement Night soundtrack. But none of this really convey just how frantic, frenetic, fucked-up and actually quite how wrong this all is. Yes, the world of Lip Critic is a bewildering one that absolutely defines the concept of ‘crossover’, and the closest comparison I can think of is Castrovalva, who were ace but niche and probably for a reason. It’s so far into niche crossover it’s hard to determine the level of seriousness behind the hybridized mess of noise that is Lip Critic II: this is an album that goes beyond so many boundaries all at once.

I don’t know what this is, and I suspect it doesn’t either. And nor should it: music should exist for its own sake, free from any constraints of genre. But with Lip Critic, it’s brain-bending and bewildering: there is simply so much going on, and all of it’s incongruous and seemingly incompatible.

‘Dreamland I’ is out-and-out mad, not so much a mash-up or hybrid as a multi-genre pileup with gas tank explosions and flames and wailing sirens and probably some people being cut from cars by fire and rescue and others being abducted by aliens.

‘Like a Lemon’ brings garage, grime, and industrial-strength hip-hop together with mangled beats a punishingly heavy groove that provides a backdrop to a more narrative-orientated approach to the lyrics, describing a guy with ‘A double-breasted suit and tight shorts / they’re so tight they cut off the circulation to his legs / … he said ‘I’m going to fill you up with rhinestones’.

At every turn, Lip Critic deliver mind bombs of every shape and form: sonically, stylistically, lyrically, Lip Critic II is simply an explosion. With every song being so brief, one barely has time to realise it’s started before it’s finished, and by the end, the listener is left punch-drunk, bewildered and dizzy. I think it’s good. I think it’s horrible. I think it’s a mess. But I can’t be sure.

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InsideOut Music – 24th July 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s almost as if they planned it, or saw it coming (although not sufficiently to prevent the release date being put back three times). And you could almost believe it, too: there’s a potently portentous aspect to Haken’s brand of progressive rock, and Virus is very much timely as much for its ruminations on the psychology of contemporary culture, as the press release explains:

‘If ‘Vector’ was an origin story, ‘Virus’ portrays an ascent to power, tyranny and subsequent endgame. The opening track, ‘Prosthetic’, bridges the two albums where scars of institutional abuse are brought into focus. This 6-minute onslaught of brutal riffing starts the spread of a virus that affects all aspects of our lives, be they biological, psychological, technological, environmental or political.’

They’ve been working on the album since the release of Vector in October 2018, and it shows: the level of detail in the interweaving guitars and the spacious melodies are remarkable, but then, so are the thunderous riffs.

The ten-and-a-half-minute ‘Carousel’ is a clear standout, and packs the experience of an entire album into a single song. The rest of the songs are much more concise, at least if you take the five-part ‘Messiah Complex’ suite as separate chapters. As you’d perhaps expect, this is a grand and grandiose sequence, with everything elevated and amplified, and with the addition of some bombastic orchestral strikes, while the final part, subtitled ‘Ectobius Rex’ goes full-on industrial metal riffage.

Elsewhere. ‘Canary Yellow’ is a condensed epic, soaring shoegaze anthem, while the final song, ‘Only Stars’ is a magnificently sparse affair which finds Ross Jennings emoting an almost choral elegy. It feels like a moment of calm reflection in the wake of a wave of devastation.

For all of the heavy power chords that crash like slabs of granite in a most contemporary metal way, I’m in some way reminded of Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds and Mansun’s Six, although Jennings’ vocals often carry that rich but troubled soulfulness of Dave Gahan. If this all sounds like an unlikely and improbable cocktail, it’s testament to Haken’s abilities that they make it all work not only cohesively, but deliver some great songs along the way.

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