SHABDA – Pharmakon / Pharmakos

Argonauta 2015

SHABDA - Pharmakon / Pharmakos

SHABDA –
Pharmakon / Pharmakos

A paean to sacrifice for the ultimate atonement from Italian noise-makers in search of a monumental chord.

There was a seismic air to 2014’s "Tummo" but its follow-up offers a different kind of stir. Dipped in the Ancient Greek tradition of chasing scapegoats away for the social sake, this album is comprised of two side-long, in LP terms, pieces whose dynamic shifts transport the listener to the underworld and back again.

It’s not plain sailing, as “Pharmakon” bears a heavier emotional balance on the dynamics front, where momentum builds slowly and gets adorned along the way with a ring of strings creating an entrancing tribal veneer. Beneath such a surface anything can happen – and does happen once the Middle Eastern tremulous vocal soars through the drone, and Anna Airoldi’s sitar punctuates the flow which gradually turns molten before its throb subsides to transparency with only metal dewdrops rippling the spirit. Yet after Riccardo Fassone’s guitars start screaming, chthonic drumming unfolds a drama, and that’s when “Pharmakos” buzzes in.

Here’s a shimmer of noise that tracks the movement of earth plates, but while Marco Castagnetto’s electronic layering makes the crawl cinematic, it’s not so eventful, although it houses a bluesy lick which opens into a dark chant. The singing and clanging get intense, and it feels like they’re reaching for the point of no return. Perhaps, they are because this is the way of a scapegoat who can, ringing a chain and a change, become a savior in the face of disaster. A deep record.

***1/3

November 29, 2015

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