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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nuclear Dog's Atomic Split: Enos - "All Too Human" / Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell - "Don't Hear It . . . Fear It!"

It has been one hell of a year for new music, abounding with great new releases from old favorites as well as from newly formed bands that announce themselves to the stoner/doom/psych/retro world with high quality debut albums. Today's Atomic Split is not an end of the year compilation of favorites but does happen to spotlight two new albums that could very well end up on a lot of lists once the dust has settled, the amps are cool, the strings replaced, and the highs of experiencing the music are replaced with the highs of late evening analgesics. All I can recommend for you today, noble and faithful Heavy Planet follower, is to enjoy what is on offer today for it is truly meant to be relished long and often, deeply, immediately, spiritually, and with wonder. You want to know what constitutes art? Listen today. You want know what it means to have a spiritual experience through the medium of sound? Stay tuned.


Ah, Alex von Wieding, when you get it right, you really nail it. The cover art for Enos' second release of 2012, as painted by von Wieding, is sublime, a true precursor for what is to be found inside as Enos continue the storyline begun earlier in the year on their first album, "Chapter 1". Not only is the story of the second chimp in space carried on, but so, too, is the great, transcendental rock that Enos create with their blend of trance inducing guitar riffs, tuned low, toxic in delivery, vocals that are at once rough and clear with a robust, gritty quality for which most rock vocalists seem to strive, but only a few attain, and a rhythm section attuned perfectly to the holistic tale at hand.

Enos consists of:

Chris Rizzanski - guitar, vocals
Sean Cox - guitars
George Cobbold - bass
Sparky Rogers - drums

"All Too Human" is a mixture of heavy, earthy, stoner sounds that are incomparably enjoyable, and aesthetic, ethereal sonnets of love and loss, faith and betrayal, revelation and loathing. The same incredible riffs inhabit this album as did the last, mesmerizing and ferocious, blended throughout with brief but beautiful riff snippets that trigger primal receptors deep within the soul, diving deep, ringing true, reverberating with the haunting call of truth and beauty. Part of the power of the songs on this album is in the attention to detail, the binding and blending of dozens of gorgeous little guitar expressions that provide depth and color in a rich tapestry of sonic bliss that cries out for full disclosure. Whether embodying the energy and volume of more traditional metal songs or sweetly, sedately channeling a composition of understated grace, the music here conveys an adeptness of bliss rarely ever on display.

Perhaps the most powerful pair of songs on this album are "Collisions", followed immediately by "Another Solution". "Collisions' sings out sweetly, in a measured and haunting rhythm of pain and loss, accompanied by one of the sweetest riff hooks on display, with equally haunting vocals that ride a spike driven straight through your soul, and with a slowly building ascendancy that inexorably drives the song toward a dramatic and conclusion. Following the understated domination of "Collisions" a deluge of pure power and low tuned energy blasts forth in an explosion of fuzz and distortion, accompanied by raw and bleeding vocals that grip and stir and relentlessly haunt the listener as "Another Solution" grinds and sears its way toward a gravelly, blistering, satisfying finale.

The best description of this music comes from the lyrics of the aforementioned "Collisions". The music can be said to be " . . . a razor's wicked stinging sound." Simply sublime.

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Let your hair down. Wear your best shoes and undies. Carb up. Hydrate. Save back that $20 you would normally use for Taco Bell and the Dollar Theater on Friday night. Prepare yourself as best you can because it's time for a balls to the wall, everything you got, jam like you rarely get to jam party. This album is as great as it is unique. Music here is not totally like anything else out there, yet still derivative of tons of great stuff from the annals of rock history. It's high energy, freaky, a monster made from some of the same bits and pieces as all great monsters, though producing not quite the same end model as those first off the slab.

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell have pulled off an exclusive, incredibly fresh, and immensely exciting feat with this album, creating music that is exquisite and rare while playing it like it's just come to mind. There had to be a lot of effort and thought put into the construction of these nine songs, because there is a LOT to them. When it came time to record "Don't Hear It . . . Fear It!" for posterity . . . well they went all out, playing with a looseness and a familiarity that comes only from still loving what you've spent countless hours creating regardless of how often you've played it. This makes for a brilliant album, to say the least. An album for the ages, perhaps.

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell is comprised of:

Johnny Redfern, aka Johnny Gorilla - vocals, guitars
Louis Wiggett - vocals, bass
Bill Darlington - drums

As a three piece band they have found a way for all instruments to share in the fun. The drums and the bass riff energetically and beautifully in several places throughout the album, in addition to providing their usual rhythmic duties, which certainly is no mean feat. It's rare and enjoyable to hear so many songs where slices of guitar work is accentuated and enhanced by accompanying blows and barrages from the heftier instruments.

That's not to say the guitars are a background instrument here, because they are front and center, pummeling away in an almost three dimensional broadside onslaught of ferocity and joy. Adept and athletic in delivery, the artistry of the music is multi-layered, infused with dozens of various riff runs of diabolical distortion or crystal clear laser screams, at once blended and disparate, creating something so sweet and bodacious many will likely be jonesing for more.

The vocals as fourth instrument could be classified in a similar manner as the songs themselves, exhibiting their own unique characteristics, easily identifiable and recognizable in signature, unique in sonic quality, rough and controlled, adept and gravelly, blended perfectly with strings and skins.

The album consists of seven songs and an additional hidden track where Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell beautifully cover Buffalo's "Bean Stew". Of the seven songs I'd say only . . . all seven of them! . . . are special. Throw a dart. Play the song that gets skewered. You'll love it. Play them in order or on shuffle, you cannot detract from the power and singularity of this bundle of unprecedented metal melodies.

First up is "Mark of the Beast", as good a selection as any to kick off the odyssey. The intro is unique and deliciously discordant, slowly devolving to the song proper where melody is the starting point upon which many exquisite layers are threaded and bundled together, riffing through the refrain here, blistering a sunspot solo there, formulating an immense sound of sonic bliss.

"Devil's Island" is a 7 minute pleasure cruise beginning with a haunting melody that is pure sweetness of clear guitar string delivery, slowly, inexorably forging ahead, tacking back and forth between dozens of finely wrought riffs and solos, until it reaches its final destination only after you have engorged on a banquet of metal morsels.

"Ideath" follows, a less melodic number at the outset, powerful in delivery, blasting away with a riff and vocal barrage from all sides, seemingly without purpose until you realize you are in the middle of a coordinated assault that thoroughly assuages the metal receptors, leaving you drained and sated.

 "Red Admiral, Black Sunrise" is a beautifully written song possessing an excellent sing along attribute that provides a memorable and incredible hook on top of high voltage riffs and insulation melting solos.

More hooks and melody are up for offer on "Scratchin and Sniffin", as well as a more subdued and rich vocal delivery. Again, brimming with snippets of riffs that are blended to create a wonderful overall sound of power and grace.

"Killer Kane" has a more insistent tempo as well as an excited run of bass riffs. Fun and furious, it is a perfect closer to the original set of songs, a well suited lead in to the cover of "Bean Stew" where Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell's interpretation is a light speed up shift in tempo and energy from Buffalo's mellow rendition of the original song.

Altogether an incredible experience, a rare and scarce chance to experience something beyond special, something immensely enjoyable, something providing pleasure and diversion through each iteration, ramping up the anticipation of opportunity to once again immerse yourself in its overpowering experience.

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