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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Album Of The Day-Blutch-"Materia" (2007)

The Album Of The Day is "Materia" by Blutch.


Sludge, shmudge! Belgian trio Blutch have always transcended the fundamental trappings of classic sludge by infusing their songs with unexpected twists, running the gamut from avant-garde atmospherics to traditional, pure doom. Their third album, 2006's Materia, quickly makes a statement in this regard, lurching into action with a forty-four-second song fragment, sardonically named "Smile," and then keeping the listener guessing by way of frequent experiments — both brilliant and atrocious — through to the end. For example: "Cut a Hand" is a mere interlude but a memorable one at that; "Beguiling Comer," a painfully tuneless dirge that occasionally combusts into fierce percussion; "Burst," a comparatively lightweight staccato riffing exercise of stupendously tension-building proportions until whispered vocals finally set in; "The Black Caped Man," another mere snippet that's surprisingly fully formed. Now arriving at its grand centerpiece: eerie murmurings of Brahms's famous bedtime lullaby precede the ungodly heaviness of "Masamune"; a direct descendent of Sunn O))) or Boris built on minimal, but sustained riff rumbles that takes the crown as this disc's most seismic reverberations…and that's saying something. Unfortunately, no subsequent song stands a chance by comparison — not the widespread feedback and hyperactive drumming heard in "Stigma"; not the quasi-industrial dissonance and stutter-stomping engines of doom driving the overlong "Slaughterhouse," nor the refreshingly brief schizo-bursts of "Moving Ground"; not even the bowel-loosening drones and amusingly appropriate submarine beeps comprising the album's Earth-inspired finale, "Confutatis." Inconsistency, in the end, is Materia's Achilles' heel, but the overall balance still leans towards the upside thanks to a handful of truly peerless tracks. (Eduardo Rivadavia, All Music Guide)

Track Listing:

01. Smile
02. Cut a Hand
03. Beguiling Comer
04. Burst
05. The Black Caped Man
06. Masamune
07. Stigma
08. Slaughterhouse
09. Moving Ground
10. Confutatis


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