Onslaught Music 2020
Heavy psychedelia from London reigns supreme in a world once removed from ours.
They call it a project, not a band, but what Tom Walding had in mind when concocting this intoxicating brew was a thing in flux to have other minds blown, which required meticulous planning. Enlisting the help of producer Jarred Hearman, the English guitarist mapped out his ideas yet gave enough leeway to kindred spirits, the rhythm section of Raihan Ruben and Jake Bradford-Sharp, to make their debut transcend any mushroom-influenced prospect. In little longer than half an hour, the little collective don’t fail to impress.
Half-measures aren’t this trio’s trait, so they throw the listener – who’s treated as the group’s intellectual peer – in at the deep end with the epic “Haemoglobin” that flows from a six-string crystalline strum to delirious rifferama, all placed onto shifting tectonic plates, with bass roaming free, if not easy, below the folk-infused front. Alternately tranquil and frenetic, solemn and menacing, opaque and pellucid, the ensemble’s melodic patterns could be mesmeric but regular changes of tempo and tune keep focus in check and don’t let your blood curdle. Which is why, while the twang of “Subject To Entropy” may seem logical, there’s humor hidden in such drums-driven non-chaos where heaviosity would only serve as a means to an end rather than a contemporary update of the Canterbury formula, even though the only words on the instrumental album are “Get metal club” – a punchline at its very end.
And that’s why the nuanced ripple on the surface of “Noble Rot” feels so infectious when its amplitude and gravity grow enough to produce a hard rock panache, which possibly should be given a vocal line at some point, before the saga “Ceremonious Synapses” offers a prog trip of cinematic proportions. Sparkling and spanking an unsuspecting ear, this two-part piece opens a porthole into the great wide panorama the trio have set to explore. Hopefully, “Realm” is only the beginning of their mental journey.