In for a dance but not a song: amusing, and sometimes abusing, heavy fusion from Finland.
Nowadays prog trios who press their pedal on metal yet keep an eye on jazz are a dime a dozen, so it takes some balls to give THE ARISTOCRATS a run for their money. Helsinki’s STEEL JUNGLE surely got three pairs of ’em, what with their debut’s title translating as “Mating Ritual” and the record’s preparation spanning a decade, so there’s understandable ardor in the band’s grooves and groins as well as disrespect for spelling. Occasional Hendrix’s lick may tie the ensemble to tradition, but opener “Ektoplasma” goes deeper to turn its acoustic Django lace into funky jive from the rhythm section and keep surface tension tight before “Kakofonia” is resolved in a race of comic rage.
Abundant light moments – although “Light” is rather serious, given a lyrical growl, while “Wanker” is as surprisingly speedy as it gets for the grind – can’t take away the thunder, thus creating a loose, if anxious, sensation on most of the tracks. As a result, the organ in “Delutions” only helps J.J.K.’s bass kick into gear and Lamminsoila’s guitar sprinkle it with dewdrops of notes, yet whereas Varis’ drums deliver an atmospheric storm, “Shy Dragonfly” flutters lyrically in a surf fashion, with no fuzz attached. No such gentle touch on “Steel Dildo,” though, that vibrates and throbs with all the wildness the trio can achieve, but it’s balanced with the translucent “Uncertanity” before the track’s slow glow breaks into sarcastic roar, and “YIP” spikes flamenco with acid glissandos.
That’s fun of high caliber, one for the show if not for the money. It was worth boiling it so long to vent the steam and smoke like this.