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Whitehorse > Live at Sinkagura, Osaka 29.06.2005 > Reviews > NausikaDalazBlindaz
Whitehorse - Live at Sinkagura, Osaka 29.06.2005

Lethargic and trundling doom metal - 78%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, February 12th, 2007

They might not have a stable line-up but Whitehorse's music has changed quite a bit since they recorded "Live - Oct / Nov 2004" seven months before they did this Sinkagura live recording. The rhythms are now very lethargic and trundley and the music now lopes and lurches like a sleepwalking drunk on the verge of total collapse. The singing is a bit more prominent and go from a series of distant echoing howls early on to scarecrow croak and later to Stone Age caveman rumble. As the rhythm section goes clunk-clunk-clunk, various effects suggesting the rise and rise of alien spaceships into the sky are busy in the background in case you hadn't noticed. That's entirely understandable because all your attention is absorbed by the rhythm slowly clobbering your mind into a trance state.

The background noises come to the fore and turn out to be distorted guitar noises and "squalls". The musicians go through a quiet introverted phase with prolonged guitar drones and feedback that'd do Sunn0))) proud and build up very slowly and agonisingly to a knuckle-crawling sludge state with demented gravelly Neanderthal vocals and trudging out-of-tune riffs. A deep wobbly drone hides behind the bass and thunk-thunk of the drums. The funniest part comes when the guys slow right down, ri-i-i-ight down and the caveman singer reduces his warblings into Godzilla tummy rumbles. This brings us to another evolutionary phase in Whitehorse's Old Stone Age metal with probably the catchiest (???) or at least the most memorable out-of-synch drunken or narco-affected sludge metal guitar riffs this side of the next Ice Age plus more of those Palaeolithic growling vocals. This is actually quite a pleasant trawl, the musicians obviously think so too since they continue it for a while, and no big surprises or dramas or giant extinction-causing meteor falls occur save for the passage of feedback drones and caveman hum going up and down the scale.

For a one-track recording the music mooches along without any major climaxes or troughs but there's quite a lot of variety there so it's never boring. The singing can be funny or silly depending on your point of view about whether deep clunking doom metal should have any business with squawks, groans and belly-aches coming from a lunatic vocalist. Space-age synth-sounding effects somehow sound just right alongside ancient hunter-gatherer rhythms and guitar riffs that seem to fall on your head like boulders off a cliff. The structure of the music is loose to the extent that parts barely connect with one another and at times two songs or at least parts from two songs are floating in one long piece. If you're the type who thinks they don't need song-structured music to be happy and you're keen to investigate improvised metal (more or less - parts of this recording could be song fragments spliced into an otherwise all-improvised music session), you should check out this recording. It's very likely to appeal to fans of Boris and Corrupted and indeed various members of Corrupted are mentioned in the CD sleeve credits.