SKULLFLOWER  Exquisite Fucking Boredom  CD   (Tumult)   13.98

Kind of a big deal when it came out, at least if you were at all into the heavy psych and UK post-industrial scenes back when Skullflower was inarguably

one of the heaviest bands on the planet. Before Andee at Tumult released Exquisite Fucking Boredom through his unstoppably awesome Tumult label in

2003, it had been seven years since the band's last album This Is Skullflower, and in the meantime a whole new generation of underground music fans

were just beginning to discover the massive body of work that Skullflower had created. This album showed another, heavier side to Matt Bower's band though.

Where the mid-90's albums had been heading off into much more abstract (though still great) free-drone territory, Exquisite dropped a massive dose

of heavily stoned riff-trance on your head. Bower's love of legendary UK space rockers Hawkwind was mainlined into a dense haze of narcotic feedback and

overloaded fuzz boxes, droning riffs and crushing propulsive rhythms, a lumbering dopefog of mesmerizing heavy psych rock.

A massive four-part suite called "Celestial Highway" makes up the bulk of the album, four different takes on the same big riff. An acid-soaked, fuzz-laden

riff ripped right out of the Sabbath/Blue Cheer/Hendrix manual and pounded into an eternal locked groove, repeating over and over again as it decays and

corrodes, each chapter of the suite running this hypnotic jam over a swirling wash of buzzing hum, pulsating electronic keyboards, the chirping of birds, and

syrupy waves of amplified ooze. Malformed shredding gets strewn over the central stomping riff, layered guitars fall out of phase with each other, and

pulsating fuzz gloms to all edges of your periphery - eventually that riff is buried underneath a pile of ethereal feedback and fuzz, obscured by mounting

layers of amp rubble and in-the-red distortion.

The other two songs "Saturn" and "Return To Forever" move on murky, disembodied drumbeats, buzzing Hawkwindian synth drones, and slowly surging waves of wah

guitar. The drumbeats are clunky and mechanical on "Return", giving the song a kind of damaged Krautrock propulsion, clattering away under a scorched sky of

pink feedback and growling, doped drone. Here's what Andee compared the amazing narco-rock of Exquisite to: "Like UK mantric rockers Loop, on repeat

play, while your boombox runs out of batteries, or a sweeter, prettier version of Dutch minimal metal gods Gore, or imagine Steve Reich or Terry Riley

composing for Black Sabbath." Packaged in a cool two-tone digipack.