Friday, March 1, 2013
In Case You Missed It: Veracrash - My Brother the Godhead
To my knowledge, Veracrash has never graced the pages of Heavy Planet…no New Band To Burn One To, no album reviews, no nothing. And given that this Italian doom-punk quartet have an EP, two full length albums and a myriad of compilation appearances under their collective belt, I’d say it’s high time we give them their day in the sun. So with the band having released My Brother the Godhead late last year, and me being the badass motherfucking tastemaker that I am, I can’t think of a better place to feature Veracrash than right here in the files of “In Case You Missed It.” Strap in tight people…because you’re gonna dig this one.
Let me just start by saying that My Brother the Godhead is what I imagine it might sound like if Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover hooked up with Joshua Homme and Nick Oliveri to form the world’s heaviest super group. Take the album’s first two tracks as an example. “Lucy Lucifer” (these guys have a real knack for song titles by the way) opens with a grinding guitar that becomes part of a mammoth, sloth-like rhythm and features a vocal croon very much akin to another famous Osbourne. In stark contrast, “Kali Maa” bounces like a fuzz-fueled buzz-bomb while incorporating a laid back, almost lazy vocal delivery that just oozes fuck you. Now I’m sure you can do the math and figure out which influence lies behind each song, but the point is that the combination of these styles is like a brain rattling, kick in the teeth with a cotton swabbed combat boot.
And of course, you’d think that a multiform sound such as this could eventually get a little messy, but with Truckfighters guitarist Niklas Källgren (aka Dango) wearing the producer's hat, the album keeps a steady flow that never loses its focus. So when the title track adds an atmospheric twist to the mix and Francesco Menghi's vocals grow from an eerie whisper to a raspy snarl and eventually transform into a powerful plead that hovers amidst a cloud of jangly guitars and a relentless rhythm, you'll know that Veracrash are the real deal. Speaking of eerie, "A Blowjob from Yaldabaoth" (told you) starts with a disturbing newscast from what I assume is 9/11 coverage, as Marco De Salvo's guitar plays in the background and the band eventually unleashes holy hell as they overcome the sampled voice. Here Menghi's vocals trade off between a dreamy, psychedelic warble and a deathly, demonic howl.
Miss the days when Queens of the Stone Age built their arrangements around the gorgeous baritone of Mark Lanegan and the chaotic yelp of Nick Oliveri? Well then you'll love "Obey the Void" wherein Menghi manages to channel both styles all by himself while the rest of Veracrash lay down a spine tingling, melodic backdrop. This is my recommendation if you're looking for a quick sample. And this leads right into "Remote Killing", a desert punk ditty that is nothing if not a reminder that this shit is supposed to be fun…right? Just listening to drummer Federico Corbetta will make you sweat as he keeps pace with the rapid fire dual guitars of De Salvo and Menghi (yep he plays too). Speaking of Menghi, I'm glad he and the rest of the band decided to forego vocals on "Exit Damnation" because the uninterrupted aural tapestry they create here by interweaving instrumentation, tempos and textures is an album highlight.
Call me crazy, but the female vocals that open "Allies from the Mirror Megaverse" sound an awful lot like Madonna's "Like a Prayer" before Veracrash meld it into a distorted dirge. This obvious ode to black metal is so demented that the subtle instrumental "Trees Falling Upwards" almost seems like an apology. But then a British accented voiceover states "so the British government are my bitches and I'm kicking the shit out of the vermin" and apologies are all but forgotten. Now I don't profess to understand the dynamics of inter-European relations, after all I'm just an ignorant Yank, but the minute and half ass kicking that follows…not to mention the song's title, "We Own You, Bitches"…kind of makes me think these Italians have a bone to pick with the Brits. And then My Brother the Godhead transitions into the curiously titled "_", an alt-rock ballad of all things that could easily find a home on rock radio and yet strangely enough, seems a fitting close to this diverse collection of music.
Look, I'm no theologist, but I can wiki with the best of them. It's obvious to me that Veracrash have a message of some kind, what with their mention of the Hindu goddess Kali Maa and the Gnostic Demiurge Yaldabaoth. But I'll leave it up to you to figure out what exactly that message might be and what the hell these guys are trying to convey. In the meantime, I think it's obvious that my message is clear...this album fucking rocks and Veracrash should not be missed.