Zebulon Pike

(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
And Blood Was Passion (2004), 6/10
II - The Deafening Twilight (2006), 6.5/10
Intransience (2008), 7/10
Space Is The Corpse Of Time (2011), 6/10

(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

Minnesota's Zebulon Pike (fronted by guitarists Morgan Berkus and Erik Fratzke) concocted an unlikely fusion of stoner-rock and post-rock on the all-instrumental And Blood Was Passion (Unfortunate Music, 2004).

They went for longer jams on II - The Deafening Twilight (Unfortunate Music, 2006). The fantastic circular riff of This Pyramid Is The Ascending Spiral evokes the incendiary dynamics of Bitch Magnet except for the new-age intermezzo, the magniloquent panzer-grade reprise and the Joe Satriani-esque guitar melodies. And Blood Was Passion is a brainier piece that keeps opening up instead of reaching closure, and continuously falls into a state of fatigue. Structure Of The Black Stallion opens with seven minutes of agonizing counterpoint in which the real protagonist is a slow, doom-y, Black Sabbath-ian undercurrent. Then the prog-rock genes kick in and the music undergoes a series of lively and gentle variations at shifting tempos. Ashes Of Xerxes Breath Of Titan alternates a martial and cataleptic pace with quasi-silence. The noisy parts get increasingly chaotic and distorted while the quiet parts remain a feeble whisper. Eventually the conflict leads to the same anemic chugging of And Blood Was Passion.

The more ambitious Intransience (Unfortunate Music, 2008) contained only three suites. Mirrors of Blessed Miracles transitions from prog-rock frenzy to a more meditative tone via a sordid tribal drum solo (Erik Bolen). After a long pause, the frenzy returns to end the piece. Star-Ocean enters almost immediately into one of their introverted and convoluted sequences, from which there emerges the loud blues cry of a saw-like guitar. The quiet phase here (ten minutes into the piece) boils down to a duet between a guitar and a synthesizer. The rest is a laconic attempt by the two guitars to generate a melodic narrative, like playing two Built To Spill records at the same time. The Avian Magi is a calm, methodic unfurling of granitic and dark chords until the eight minute when the pace accelerates and the guitars detune each other leading to the inevitable collapse.

Space Is The Corpse Of Time (Unfortunate Music, 2011) moved further away from the linear structures of hard rock. Turbulent and quasi-glitch sound effects devastate the pop-metal theory of Spectrum Threshold, also sabotaged by one of the longest and most subtle quiet passages of their career. There instead no respite for the gothic riffs of Trigon Of Force that simply morph and recombine endlessly. The problem is that compositions such as Echoic Words are now so intricate and diffuse that it's difficult to absorb the meaning. And is one to make with the distorted drones that end Powers Of The Living Manifestations Of The Dead after doom-y power chords survived the usual catalepsy? As far as quiet intimate ruminations go, the sophisticated one in the brief Space Is The Corpse Of Time borders on chamber dissonant music.

(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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