(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Dead As Duck (2006), 6.5/10
Black As Pitch (2007), 6.5/10
3K Hum (2007), 6.5/10
Entisaikainen Herra Hihkasis Atilaa Menna Pilver (2008), 6/10
Drunk As Duck (2008), 5.5/10
Primland (2008), 6/10

North Carolina's one-man band Jabladav (James H) indulged in Weakling-inspired black metal that coupled creative guitar maelstroms and melodramatic keyboards on the instrumental tour de force Dead As Duck (2006). The keyboards are not completely integrated in the music, but only appended as an after-thought. The thundering incandescent riffs and mechanic amateurish drums of Dead As Duck decay in a static electronic "om". The swirling guitar melody of Waiting For Winter's Decention turns into a machine-gun attack and then drowns into an electronic nebula.
The most propulsive forces sometimes originate form the most unlikely combinations, like the convoluted strumming and intermittent gargling that sets Into The Sun on fire.
Some of the best (and slower) ideas, unfortunately, are left unfinished, like the satanic hoe-down of Zarqawi Mortus and the hypnotic pow-wow dance of Burzemjoinem, both buried under a rain of guitar shrapnel, not to mention the slamming hardcore fury unleashed by Maximus Mortus.
There was a lot more than black-metal fury at play. The four-movement Winter Moon, prefaced by an acoustic watercolor, contains a delirious eight-minute second movement that is a textbook exercise in post-rock instability, from the surge of sideral guitar a` la Helios Creed to the last panzer-like crescendo via an evocative acoustic solo. The last movement opens with a monk's choir and ends with a chamber duet between guitar and piano. Even bolder was the ten-minute Omega Diem Morte, that boasts a mid-section of Hendrix-ian guitar effects (leading to a glorious soaring melody) and a brief jazzy bass solo in between orgiastic bacchanals.

The project then took a serious post-rock turn on Black As Pitch (2007), including the 14-minute brainy Vinter Meditation and the 31-minute dronescape of St Philip Episcopal Church.

It became even more abstract with 3K Hum (2007), including the 15-minute digital soundsculpture of Translucent Sail and the 44-minute cosmic journey Borley Rectory.

After the live Entisaikainen Herra Hihkasis Atilaa Menna Pilver (2008), performed with a Buddha Machine, a piano and an organ, and the fragmented Drunk As Duck (2008), the double-disc Primland (2008) stood as the crowning achievement of this gradual progression towards a personal style, a style that was nonetheless schizophrenic: one disc of thrashy bursts of noise and one disc of keyboards-dominated ambient drones. The first disc is disappointing, compared with his classic Dead As Duck. With the exception of the "danse macabre" Marschen, some of the pieces merely try to be sensational (the extremely loud and noisy Black Snow, the senseless blastbeat orgy Frozen Black Forest) and others focus on technical prowess rather than passion (Lodona). The ten-minute Excelerate Slackandre is a strange hybrid, mixing easy-listening music of the 1960s, synth-driven prog-rock of the 1970s and blastbeat-driven metal of the 1990s. On the other hand the 23-minute Homeland & Awe surges to a truly majestic midsection via staccato distorted riffs before plunging into blastbeast hysteria; but even then it maintain an air of philosophical soliloquy, a quality of stream of consciousness, the flavor of a last note before a suicide attempt.
The second disc contains: the 21-minute delicate, whispering nebula Primland, the slow-motion sonata for piano and electronics Faith, the 20-minute ambient cosmic fresco In Awe of my Homeland. The humbler Lullaby to a Nova is more interesting, thanks to its interplay between distorted neurotic music and ambient new-age ecstasy. The album ends with Black Snow Meditation, ten minutes of a lulling wave of sitar-like tones.

The epileptic style (short bursts of punk ferocity) prevailed on Atta Vinter (self released, 2009). The Cold Warmth (2010) collects outtakes from Atta Vinter.

The existential crisis peaked with Trostlosigkeit (2010), that ran the gamut from midtempo and melodic metal (My) to the 19-minute doom-fantasia Trostlosigkeit and to the ambient music of the 33-minute Reflection.

Communion With Mother & Machine (2010) offered ambient music for Buddha Machines and Black Boxes.

Having abandoned black metal, they indulged in all sorts of stylistic hybrids on Ayr (2011).

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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