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2018-12-22

ALBATRE - The Fall Of The Damned

The Dutch are sick fucks!

But even though Albatre are part of the same New Wave Of Dutch Heavy Jazz my blog regulars Dead Neanderthals belong to, I cannot use this seemingly appropriate introduction here, because well... the members of this trio are actually from Portugal and Germany. So sneaky.

But the Dutch are sick fucks anyway.

No offence, I have absolutely no beef with anyone from the Netherlands.
But I like the absoluteness and confidence of the statement. Yeah, so what?
I chose it, and now I'm owning it!



ALBATRE - The Fall Of The Damned (CD) (2018)


As you can see I've worked myself up to a certain level of awkward detachment from reality. I'm just trying to find an approximation to how agitated a "vanilla" music consumer might feel when unexpectedly faced with albums like this.

But honestly, I'm way too accustomed to excepting any kind of sonic advantgarde as just one of the musical expressions I enjoy. Ultimately I really can't tell how hard or easy Albatre are to digest for the uninitiated.

"The Fall Of The Damned" is probably easier to get into than a lot of stuff of said Dead Neanderthals, who seem to be much more eager to alienate with their principle of unmelodious tonal minimalism in a free jazz context alone.
Albatre in comparison have a much more organized sound with tight, precise arrangements and structures, which are recognizable as equivalents to verse, chorus, bridge, lead etc., which surely helps in terms of accessibility.

The core instrumentation of the trio consists of drums, bass and saxophone, which is pretty much an all-time classic constellation in jazz. Even when you consider the additional keys and electronics, you can go as far back as in the 1970s, when Herbie Hancock incorporated those into his sound.
Yet the raw heaviness and clear influence from extreme music far outside of your grand grandparents' jazz point most clearly to the advantgarde tradition of several John Zorn projects including his Painkiller trio with ex-Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris in the 1990s.


So this isn't by any means a revolutionary formula, as there are several comparable acts like Brain Tentacles or (well in this case with guitar) Ex Eye out there. But damn, Albatre made a great diversified album out of it.

Most of the tracks are build around what are basically repititive groove metal meets mathcore riffs, so in a way you can view most of this album as some kind of instrumental technical post metal, performed with the tools of modern jazz fusion. So it's kind of the inversion of what Imperial Triumphant, who play jazz disguised as black metal, are doing.

Most of the material is dark, but has an actually very enjoyable drive to it. When the sound gets wider, be it with higher sax licks or synth patterns, it evokes huge Neurosis here, the jazzier side of Motorpsycho there.

And then you also have tracks which go into very different directions like the somehow lighter, super percussive "Dance Of A Dead Paradise", the arabic "Peasant Dance" or the bombastically droning closer "Horned Animal".

But no matter whether you locate the whole album more inside the realm of advantgarde metal or jazz, this is fucking sick shit!

My prevelant recent perception of "The Fall Of The Damned" is highly influenced by another album which I bought just a couple of days later.
I think this work makes a great Light vs. Dark / Yin Yang complementary piece to Sons Of Kemet's "Your Queen Is A Reptile".





Highlights: Ship Of Fools, Goya, Dance Of A Dead Paradise, The Fall Of The Damned



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