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In order to create something really large, loud and massive it's inevitable that small bands sometimes have to team up with other musicians to achieve their goals. In this spirit the british noise kraut punks of Gnod (only seven members) joined forces with the dutch instrumental psych quartet Radar Men From The Moon for a project which doesn't hide its roots, yet is clearly bigger than the sum of its parts.

TEMPLE OV BBV - Temple Ov BBV (Diecut Hole In Your Head Version, clear/black dual vinyl) (2017)

"In 1965 the Dutch scientist and psychedelic pioneer Bart Huges embarked on a personal journey by taking an electric dentist’s drill and using it to open a hole in his skull, theorising that this measure - known as trepanation and chronicled in this book ‘The Mechanics Of Brain Blood Volume (BBV) - would result in enhanced mental power, and in effect a permanent high for the owner of the skull in question."

I seldom quote whole paragraphs directly from the band I'm reviewing, but as this perfectly describes the inspiration for the project name as well es the brilliant artwork of the Temple Ov BBV debut including the diecut hole on the front cover, why waste time with paraphrasing?

Officially released on June 9th (yet I grabbed it in April at the Roadburn Festival after their show) there are now only a few copies of this beautiful first pressing left.

I basically already reviewed this work in its live version, but luckily there's still enough to be said without parroting myself.

As this record came out only shortly after Gnod's "Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine" and is overall very close in scope, I perceive them als kind of siblings and I guess it's pretty save to assume that anyone who loves one of these albums can smoothly dive into the other one without risk of getting disappointed.
Having bought both at the same time it even took me a few listens to assign every bit which stuck in my head to the right record.

I'm not too keen on the "Just Say No..." opener "Bodies For Money", so the Gnod album has a slight disadvantage in the direct comparison from the start. But even if said track was better I'd probably prefer "Temple Ov BBV" as a whole.
Be it the heavy riffs, the noises and soundscapes, the rhythmic repetitions or the angst and anger in the vocals - a lot of all that obviously is akin to Gnod. Yet there is even more of almost everything. A wider range of moods and instrumentation. With extra bass and extra drums the album has a broader and deeper base. Of course the unyielding groove of Radar Men From The Moon also sets its clear mark in the sound.

Temple Ov BBV live in Tilburg
But to bring other names into play; if one influence can impossibly be denied than it is the mighty Swans. There's no shame in it for anybody to call this possibly the most colossal Swans performance  Michael Gira and co. didn't play themselves. The theme of "What Happens To Memories When You Die" is Swans through and through.
More classics that come to mind are Einstürzende Neubauten, Throbbing Gristle and other early industrial artists, and also the relatively few bands who mixed the genre with metal elements in a successful way like post-"Twitch" Ministry, early Treponem Pal or above all Skin Chamber.
There are also strong connections to drone, ambient (especially in the thirteen minutes digital only bonus track "Taurus") and even bits of advantgarde jazz. And those are not exclusively evoked by the occasional saxophone, even though I must admit, that it definitely helps creating a John Zorn / Painkiller vibe.

Not diminishing the dutch origin of the Radar Men, but Temple Ov BBV are streaked with Britishness. I could be wrong in terms of the lyrics which I won't dare to interpret without a sheet, but there is at least this strong feeling of an angry english working class quality to this album. If you time-travelled back to the early 80s and took this with you, Crass Records would probably kill you to release this shit.

It might be crucial for its energy that it was conceived and recorded within a very short timespan. In this it is very much like my personal holy grail of pushing punk to its most epic and extreme, Saw Throat's masterpiece for the ages "Inde$troy".

And whenever I draw any comparison to that one you can be sure that I bloody love what I'm talking about!

So to go back to the sibling release: You have to own Gnod's "Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine" for the sake of its genius title alone. There's no question about it. And it is indeed a fantastic album!

But that being said... Temple Ov BBV notches it up to twelve!


Highlights: The Other Side Of The Night, Butcher's Tears, Taurus

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