The first album proper (self released that is) from a meeting of young yet prodigously talented minds, this is indeed as avant garde as they come. Starting with a backward guitar melody that morphs ito the opener “In a Garden”, here is some seriously eerie and trippy music. It is essentially Saqib Malik’s soundscapes and strange textures married to Howard Eichenblatt’s stream of consiousness poetry. From the opener onwards, the agenda gradually unfolds to demonstrate reverb laden guitars and drums, creepy drones, disturbing samples all topped by vocals recalling a teenage Morrison on crack. Reference points touched upon include modern drone masters (Sunno, Boris et al) to indie (old Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground) to experimental black metal (Blut Aus Nord), but without resembling any one band or genre. The production is intentionally lo-fi, keeping clarity of instruments and vocals without sounding immediate at all.
Infact, the mixing of the distant reverb laden sound with the odd lyrical and vocal gist makes this the very epitome of narcotic post rock/metal. Thankfully this completely avoids the Grateful Dead-with-Distortion structuring or the chugga-chugga generic chunks of many post-metal luminaries. Instead it delves into the underside of rock (and no I don’t mean the sleazy redneck kind either), and comes up all aces. Very occasional touches of a more extreme metallic element (witness “At Dusk We Returned” and “Dark Language”) show metalheads swimming somewhere in the murk.
This is cosmic music but its the very anti-thesis of what “cosmic” usually means when applied to metal. Instead of rage and pomp this is the moan of a feeble, drugged out and decaying cosmos. Honestly speaking, after the first 6 tracks I lost conventional conciousness and was floating away blissfully on a narcotic cloud. And I have not used any mind-altering substances in a long time.
This is to post rock and metal what Radiohead’s Kid A was to modern indie pop rock. I am scared of thinking what these guys would do with a bigger budget and a slicker studio.
Label: Self Released
Avantgenre: Post-Drone Narcotic Space Rock
Duration: 50 Minutes
Origin: Pakistan / USA
Official site: http://www.myspace.com/blackalbatross
Review online since: 16.09.2007 / 05:53:29
01 – In A Graden