Saturday, December 15, 2012

Metallic Taste of Blood


Before you judge this book by its cover wait just a minute. I know what you're thinking. Metal. Mindless metal. Mindless metal of the head banging kind. 

That's not the case.

Metallic Taste of Blood is the self-titled album from the quartet of Eraldo Bernocchi (guitars, etc.), Colin Edwin (bass, of Porcupine Tree fame),  Balazs Pandi (percussion), and Jamie Saft (keyboards).

I know of Bernocchi from his ambient work with Harold Budd including Music For Fragments From the Inside (2006) and with Budd and Robin Guthrie on Winter Garden (2011). Reread that - those are ambient works and Winter Garden is perhaps my favorite album of the past decade and one of the utmost beauty.

I'm also familiar with the Rare Noise Records label through the work of Naked Truth (whose new album Ouroboros is trying my patience while I await for its arrival in the mail). So I found myself on Rare Noise's website and bing bang boom I'm downloading their free mp3 sampler. One of the tunes in the 10 song sampler is King Cockroach from MToB. It was love at first listen - not cuddly love, but OMG LOL love.

The tracks on MToB are:
  1. Sectile
  2. Schizopolis
  3. Glass Chewer
  4. Bipolar
  5. Maladaptive
  6. King Cockroach
  7. Crystals and Wounds
  8. Fist Full of Flies
  9. Twitch
  10. Transverse
Sectile kicks off the album with what to me sounds like a heavy version of a spaghetti western soundtrack. (I'm probably reading too much into Bernocchi's influence.)

This album is exceedingly fun. Hell, Schizopolis has what I swear is a harpsichord part. In fact, a lot of the tunes use Saft's keyboard work in melodic lines that seem to be saying "don't take the heavy stuff too seriously." But it's Edwin's bass lines that really make the entire album work. When I got the CD home and played it on my good audio system (not mp3s through my computer) I was compelled to turn up the volume to fully experience his playing.

Then Glass Chewer begins with a piano line that reminds me of the Debussy etudes I ordered at the same time I ordered MToB. The piano work continues like lightning over storm clouds of bass, drums, and guitar. Again with the split personalities, Bipolar starts out almost like a traditional pop tune but veers into rumbling bass and fuzzy guitar. Maladaptive is one of my favorite tracks on the album and begins with something almost ambient which I assume is Bernocchi's contribution. Edwin and Pandi combine on an intense rhythm line throughout which Bernocchi's guitar weaves.

How Edwin achieves the fuzzy bass sound on King Cockroach I'll never know but this mid-tempo tune is another example from the album of Saft's keyboards and the reggae interlude lightening the load. Twitch is an uptempo piece that pushes Edwin's bass playing. And Transverse brings us to the end by reprising the bouncy western feel.

The entire album is densely packed musicianship that is heavy and intricate, serious and fun.

One take away is that free samplers do turn into sales. Thanks, Rare Noise.

Here are websites for all the guilty parties.
I received no compensation of any kind for this review.


RareNoiseRecords said...

Thank You Sir!

John said...

You're welcome again. Your comment reminded me to put MToB in the car and enjoy it while driving around today.