BIRUSHANAH  Akai Yama  CD   (Level Plane)   9.98

If the Birushanah album Touta hadn't been an older title that we just happened to pick up for the first time from the Japanese label run by one

of the band's members, it would have been a shoe-in for our Featured Release this week. As soon as I heard that album, this Japanese band immediately became

one of my new favorite bands, seemingly custom-made for my lust for demented metal with their bizarre, exotic fusion of traditional Japanese music and

planet-crushing industrial avant doom. When it rains it pours, and I just found out that Level Plane just released a brand new album from Birushanah this

month titled Akai Yama, and it's even more freaked out and brutally percussive and bizarre as their previous album, a devestating slab of insanely

complex polyrhythmic math doom with awesome psychotic vocals and THREE DRUMMERS and contorted angular riffage that will fold your frontal lobe over onto

itself. An unchallenged album of the week and one of thee best heavy albums of the year, no doubt!

Hailing from Osaka, Japan, Birushanah started in 2002 and featured members of the Aussie deathsludge band Dad They Broke Me, and would also later have

former Corrupted/Tetsuo bassist Shibata in their ranks. When you listen to Birushanah, you can hear the raw matter of their doom/sludge roots, but as the

band evolved and brought in metal percussion and Japanese percussion alongside the regular drums and incorporated traditional Japanese scales in their music,

the band's sound has become more and more alien sounding. And yeah, I said that Birushanah have three drummers, or percussionists to be more

precise; they have one guy playing a regular drumkit, hammering away at pummeling slow motion beats and the occasional blastbeat, while two other guys bash

on makeshift metal and traditional Japanese drums in unison with the drummer. This creates an extremely dense and chaotic percussive force on Akai

Yama as all three percussionsist bash away at the same time, playing super complex polyrhythms and seriously bizarre time signatures that have an

industrial feel due to the metal textures. There are two bassists, both of which play traditional Japanese scales on their instruments, and the atonal scales

combined with the dual battery of having two bass guitars thickens up the sound MASSIVELY. This album features three tracks, but the first is a short two

minute introduction piece of Gagaku-like Japanese classical ambience. After that, the band lurches into two massive 17-20 minute tracks, totalling over 40

minutes of music. Each track is made up of different passages, moving through long intricate compositions of pounding tribal psychedelic sludge, with

yowling vocals and demented male singing, melodic basslines slipping in and out of strange rhythmic grooves, more subdued passages of foly Japanese acoustic

music, glimpses of koto (the traditional Japanese stringed instrument) in the crushing mathy sludge metal. Devestatingly heavy and nauseatingly angular

heaviosity that honestly sounds like Corrupted fused to Zeni Geva, early Swans, and Japanese classical, as weird and unlikely as that combination sounds. The

album artwork is perfect too, capturing the astral strangeness of Birushanah's sound with psychedelic space paintings layered with geodisic structures and

swrling abstract shapes. This one is on my list for one of the best metal albums of the year. Highly recommended.