BIRUSHANAH  Touta  CD   (S.M.D.)   11.98

Pulvering sludge metal from Japan combined with traditional Japanese instruments and music? That sounded like a combo that needed to be checked out, and

I'm glad I did - this CD from 2002 is one of the more interesting psych-metal imports that I've gotten in at the Blast recently, a two song, twenty minute

mini-album released by the amazing Japanese label S.M.D. (who I worked with last year in regards to their Japanese release of the Grey Daturas Dead In

The Woods album), who have also hooked us up with the crushing Shinsho album from Ryokuchi. Birushanah originally started in Osaka in 2002 with

bassist Sougyo and members of the Aussie sludgecore band Dad They Broke Me who were staying in Japan at the time; the members of DTBM would leave the band

shortly after, but not before recording this two song debut that also featured Corrupted's Shibata on fretless bass.

The two songs on Touta ("Shoketsu" and "Ikei") are certainly something different. The opener "Shoketsu" starts off with a lone bass guitar playing

a heavy dark Japanese-sounding melody using that sort of traditional, atonal scale, and it becomes joined by deep wordless chanting, minimal percussion and

the deep buzz of a didgeridoo. But then five minutes in, that hymnlike processional suddenly explodes into crushing, sludgy dirge metal, a huge hypnotic

riff, angular and convoluted grinding over and over above two percussionists, one playing a regular drumkit and pounding out a steady stream of pummeling,

complex beats, the other playing some kind of found-junk-metal percussive set and smashing out these clanking steel-pipe rhythms a la Trephine in tandem with

the drummer! Monstrously heavy and chaotic, it's like hearing a mathier Neurosis if the members were actually Japanese warrior-monks. Then comes "Ikei", and

once again it begins with a more traditional style of music, an awesome droning Japanese psych jam, the digeridoo again buzzing away but now it's joined by

all kinds of Japanese percussion and Japanese folk instruments, super catchy and trippy but HUGE sounding, coming to an ecstatic close as every instrument in

the room gets cranked to eleven in a mass of sound, and then the band suddenly lurches forward into a grisly stuttering stop and go riff, manic drumming

kicking up a storm as the detuned guitars and fretless bass lock horns in twisted sludgy riffage, weaving back and forth over an increasinly weirder song

strucure. Then they start breaking off into these frenzied math metal breakdowns that remind me of Dazzling Killmen, and alternate those chaotic fretboard

freakouts with brutal angular sludge with more of that awesome junk metal percussion and grinding drumming pushing everything forward in vicious starts.

Birushanah's brand of psychedelic math sludge is pretty damn amazing, and definitely VERY crushing, and with their being a new album coming soon from the

band on Level Plane and apparently some US touring in the works, I'm betting that these guys are going to get huge. Pretty essential for anyone that is an

equal fan of Zeni Geva and Neurosis!