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They're mad I tell you - 75%

joncheetham88, December 27th, 2010

Neolithic are one of the stranger bands I've happened across. They had a truly bizarre sound and career in general. Look at that crazy cover art for starters. It's like a '60s sci fi flick if you were tripping balls. Apparently they started as a doom metal band, which I can't confirm because it has not been possible to hear their terribly titled debut For Destroy the Lament. Mind you, I have heard their self-titled EP, which combined madcap jazz with sonically crushing gothic doom. But here's fun, Vader's excellent Daray played drums with them, and Behemoth's Orion was on bass. Holy shit!

By the time they recorded My Beautiful Enemy they were playing a crazy mish-mash of doom, groove and gothic metal. The sophomore and swansong album opens with chamber strings played from a keyboard and some chanting before breaking into a groovy set of riffs. "You have become the one I hate" is chanted repetitiously throughout the song. I can't say this does much for me. The next song however, 'Darkness' does. The thrumming guitars that slap throughout the opening verse inject a lot of energy into the sound they get going, and by the end I'm headbanging to the catchy riffs. The quavering clean vocals of Maciek Taff warbling 'damn the sunliiiiight' add to the drugged, smoky atmosphere. The song also features the first of several kickass guitar solos. No wonder they ended up as rock'n'rollers in a stoner metal band called Black River.

The album can be hit and miss despite its eclectic mixture. When it drags like on the title track (despite the Iommi-like Goliath of a riff in the latter half), your fingers itch for the skip button. When a track like the epic, slowly accelerating riff-packed monster that is 'Falling Down' pulls you into its whirlpool of metallic emotions, you forget all about your non-crazy metal albums. Seriously, this song is a must, it's unlike anything I've heard (like most of the wacky shit on here) but totally awesome. 'A Fire Inside' is a catchy goth rock track at first, but the band throw in cinematic keyboards, huge guitar chords and layered vocals until I don't know what genre to pin on this. 'Love?' is all funk guitars and tragic moans, while 'Love, Sex, Desire' chugs and trawls along like the Sabbath-infused doom apparent at Jon's birth. But with also a hammond organ!

The album retains a fug of a production throughout, feeling close and sweaty with a sharp and spiky guitar sound. It isn't quite as heavy as the Neolithic EP, which had almost Isis-like levels of crushingness. The synths swim behind the other instruments throughout, often functioning as intros or breaks alongside clean guitars. Daray's drumming is fairly simple and unremarkable for the most part, you wouldn't know it as the guy who obliterated all in his path on The Art of War. All the incongruity of the instruments melds at the end. The closing track 'Rebel' is very strange and cool, dramatic synths that belong on a video game and a steady, tribal drum tattoo exploding into hardcore-like guitar breakdowns.

In the words of the promotional blurb for the band Black River, they have "made really explosive mixture which gives energy injection". Can I recommend you going to great trouble to seek this out? 'Darkness', 'Falling Down', 'Love, Sex, Desire' and 'Rebel' are all awesome, so that's half the album, and if you feel like the influences and sounds I mention might tickle your fancy then go for it. It's unique, for one thing.