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Beautiful - 88%

Ackman, October 21st, 2006

I'll admit it: I'm not much of a drone fan, though if I do have to listen to drone, it will come from one of four bands , and hey, since two of them are working together on this album (the other two being Earth and the odd Melvins drony track), I thought I'd give it a try.

I can say one thing: I am NOT disappointed. Though this isn't quite as monolithic as, say, Absolutego, the opening tracks are heavy as fuck, mixing the heavyness only Boris could produce with some nice Sunn melodic riffs. The production is amazing, there is so much texture to the sound, you almost feel like you're drowning in a puddle of weird rough viscous stuff.

I have to admit, though... my favorite track here is probably the Sinking Belle. It's a ballad, an almost stupidly simple ballad (or at least that's the way it seems at first), but it's just imbued with so much feeling... it gets me every time I listen to it. Jesse Sykes does a brilliant job on vocals here, a great departure from what you get on most albums from either band. This song is just an awesome example of how to build a song into more than just a collection of riffs. It's an indivisible aesthetic unit, and it makes complete sense once it reaches completion.

I can't say I much like the corny vocal distortion on the next track, Akuma no Kuma, but it's not annoying enough to make it a bad song at all (it even features some epic brass lines, and I'm a sucker for those, when done as nicely as they are here). As a matter of fact, once you get used to the vocals, you just don't notice their cornyness.

Though Fried Eagle Mind has some interesting things going for it, it just didn't make me phase out and forget everything else that was going on except the song. I dunno why... with a friend of mine who listened to this the same day I did, it was the exact opposite. He was out there during the whole track, while I actually thought it was sort of boring until... the end part came through. And the end is just amazing so I guess it's worth the wait. It gave me about the same feeling as the begginning of Det Som Engang Var (the song) does... walking through a deserted road in the middle of a cold, dark, dream forest. (OK, so the Kittelsen image influenced me just a bit). It leads the listener very well into the ominous start of Blood Swamp, which rounds off the album with 14 minutes of darkening dreamscape. Just listen to it. I won't try and put it to words.

Try this out, even if you're not a drone fan. Half the tracks aren't even drone, and those that are, are pretty accessible and masterful, as could be expected by 2 bands that are hailed by many as masters of Drone.