Unfortunately now out-of-print as Second Layer seems to have ceased activities, we did dislodge a handful of copies of this 2009 release from Ramleh that came about just as the group was in a state of re-organization after nearly a decade since thweir last album. Instead of picking up where they left off with the monstrous psychedelic noise-rock / tectonic drone-rock that these guys were flattening everybody with in the 90s, Valedictions regressed all the way back to their early 80s activities, emitting a destructive stream of longform power electronics and extreme noise across this six-part saga.
Valediction is presented in six parts, each one a variation of Mundy and Di Franco's colossal maelstrom generated from synthesizers, electronic effects, and distorted vocals, with bass and guitar appearing infrequently. The vast majority of this is a thunderous blast of psychedelic power electronics, raging multi-tracked vocals that shout and mumble and roar amidst a cacophony of beyond-blown-out distortion, rumbling bass frequencies, searing high-end synth chaos, and what sounds like utterly berserk guitar shredding (but which is primarily created using synth). It's fuckin' extreme, from the trippy cosmic storm and wall-noise power of "I" and the mangled, effects-splattered intensity of "II" to the subsequent skull-blowing blasts of lysergic electronics, violent sweeping frequency shifts, gargantuan distorted drones, torturous amplifier feedback modulations, and commanding shouted voices that dominate the middle of the disc. It feels like a particularly violent throwback from the two artists, updating their earlier sonic assault with a thicker production and inpenetrably grim atmopshere. But then deeper into it you begin to get bulldozed by Di Franco's monstrously distorted ur-riff on the bass, simple lu8mbering two-note dirge crawling beneath the avalanche waves of skree and rumble and hiss and howl, like the titanic gonked-out psychsludge mass of "III", goddamn crushing shit as it builds in size and intensity..."drone-metal" levels of heaviness here and elsewhere on the disc, massive metallic crush buffeteed by plumes of nauseating high-end feedback and manipulated sinewaves and histrionic proclamations from Mundy.
The final track hints at the band's history with heavy-as-hell psych/noise rock, and "VI" stands out as a weird nod towards that period, dropping a grinding two-chord riff and roughly sung (and largely understandeable) vocals into the cyclonic noise , a bludgeoning Stooges-esque hook swamped in shortwave detritus and corrosive distortion and cosmic radiation; after listening to Valediction a few times, I've really fallen in love with this as the closing song, it's warped and memorable, an almost sing-along lyrical hook surfacing for a bit before things go completely nuclear.
It's set up to roll out as a single album-length piece even while tracks dissolve in and out, with a continuous bleak vibe that stretches from begining to end, a pervasive post-apocalyptic dread emitting from all corners, easily overwhelming you with the density of all of their noise blasting skyward
not without a semblance of structure
It's definitely a distinct different beast than their next album Circular Time, where the band would unfold into their hypnotic psych-rock obliteration mode once again, the other side of the coin that is Ramleh, but possessing a dark blotter-chewing immensity and deafening power that sticks out from the rest of their "power electronics" era.