SKULLFLOWER  Taste The Blood Of The Deceiver  LP   (Not Not Fun)   19.98

With each new Skullflower release that followed Orange Canyon Mind, Matt Bower has dialed up the corrosion in his longrunning UK drone/noise/rock project. Anyone that was hoping for more of the sunburnt Hawkwind-style riffola that Exquisite Fucking Boredom and Orange Canyon delivered when the follow-up Tribulation rolled out in 2006, they sure didn't get it. Tribulation turned Bower's eternal raga guitar crunch into a nuclear eruption of blackened feedback drone and eternally grinding distortion. Sounded like heaven to me, and since then Skullflower has continued down this darker, heavier path, and on recent discs from Turgid Animal and Utech, has even began to flirt with buzzing guitar riffs lifted from the most hypnotic corners of black metal.

This LP is not only one of the newest slabs of blackened trance from the 'Flower, but also the first LP that the group (a duo now, actually, since Culver's Lee Stokoe is plays on most of the new stuff) has issued in a decade. The six lengthy tracks on Taste The Blood Of The Deceiver are crushing and utterly hypnotic, which is no surprise in the wake of the holocaustal amplifier trance of the Desire For A Holy War disc tat Utech put out a few months ago. What did surprise me a little is how much parts of Taste The Blood remind me of OCM. It sounds like Matt managed to fuse the looping, Hawkwindy guitar riffs and lysergic haze of his pre-Trib stuff with the formless, blackened noiseblast of the newer releases, and it's pretty mesmerizing. The first track opens the LP with one of Bower's awesome churning hypno-riffs, a massive metallic guitar chug that repeats over and over, surrounded by a dense miasma of howling feedback and swirling chunks of feedback, super heavy and thick and crushing, like one of those OCM acid riffs blasted through a wall of Black Boned Angel-strength dronemetal. The second half of the A-side gets more abstract, and unleashes a real meaty ocean of ultra-distorted rumble, the roar of twenty overdriven, smoking amplifiers cranked to eleven and abandoned to drown in feedback. Over this wall of crunch, the guitarists strafe and streak the chaos with trebly shards of melody. Pretty intense, and very reminiscent of Tribulation. The second side descends into further pits of abstract black ugghh, offering up monolithic psych guitar riffage and pounding drums that are drowned in distortion, buried industrial percussion that you can only barely make out through the murk and feedback, weird shouting vocals that break through in spurts, lumbering doomic dirges and unexpected flashes of melodic riffing, and dreamy washes of orchestral sound. It's a killer slab, for sure. Heavy and abstract, freaked out and blackened. We only have a couple copies of this LP as it sold out immediately from the label, who issued it in a limited edition of 500 copies. On black vinyl, in matte jackets with high contrast black and white artwork.