Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jazkamer - Metal Music Machine 2 CD (review)

Label: Pica Disk
Catalog#: PICA026
Format: CD, Album
Country: Norway
Released: November 2010

I've had a small brake from reviewing the Jazkamer monthly 2010, but this is not me quitting the promise of reviewing every monthly. No, I have been busy running a festival, and was planning on picking up where I left with submitting the August release. But what happens? During the festival I was, as the first person in the world, given by Lasse Marhaug himself this brand new Jazkamer release, and being taken by surprise by the title, I knew I couldn’t help myself doing this one first. So the rest would have to wait, but it will come of course. This release is due out November 2010.

When Metal Music Machine was released in 2006, Jazkamer was hailed over the world with this new metal direction, even by their old noise fans who obviously thought nothing lesser of this metal – noise combo. Metal and noise is in many ways related, and Jazkamer founder Lasse Marhaug has numerous times acclaimed his fondness of various metal acts, and his solo work is sometimes heavy and dirty as trash can be, so no surprise when his and John Hegres Jazzkammer turned into Jazkamer, the Metal act (this spelling is used most of the times from then on, even with pure noise releases). More surprisingly at that time though, was the introduction of members from the Norwegian Death and Black Metal, and that they wanted to join such an underground unpredictable movement as the noise scene. But in retrospect it is understandable, as the trashy, dark, scary parts of Jazkamer and the rest of the noise world has these things in common, as also with the moods they create and the loudness and attitude combined with it. Various metal bands has also been closing the gap between genres, as also has been the case with many hardcore punk bands. Incorporating noise in metal would of course be a natural developement using metal effects pedals to the extreme, and bands probably want to take back some of the loud noisy distorted sound from the noise performers.

Anyway, Enslaved guitarist Ivar Bjørnson and Manngard drummer Iver Sandøy teams up with multi-instrumentalist Jørgen Træen (aka Sir Duperman) for this new release in the Jazkamer Metal Music saga, only with small contributions (!) from the founders Marhaug and Hegre, and also from Trond Myklebust. Digesting this makes for an understanding that Metal Music Machine 2 would be less noisy than the first one and more of a metal record. And so it is.

First track, The Metal, is a fast and furious speed trash metal guitar based track of 4+ minutes. It’s a bit pompous without losing energy, but speed varies a bit. The guitar and speed of drums gets me going like a duracell rabbit, this is a fun start. Second track, Bestial Desolation, is just over three minutes. This is more oldschool trash metal from the 80s. heavy drumming, hypnotizing riffs, rhythm changes, faster, more furious. It is almost as it is made in the old days of the 80s when trash was invented. I wouldn’t say as progressive as Metallicas …and justice for all, but it was certainly the very first thing that came to my mind. Not a bad mark, as that was my first introduction to trash, and still is a favourite of mine to this day. I wish it was longer, though.

Noisy distorted really slow guitar riff to start off the third track No Lamb For The Lazy Wolf. It’s 8+ minutes, and other sounds are slowly introduced. No drums during the entire track. It’s dirty, and creates a scary dark landscape, scraping on the surface of your nerves. Make sure the kids are in bed, and you have a cold beer in the fridge to comfort you and cool yourself down with when playing this track. Even better if it’s raining and it’s dark and you are sick having had a hard night out last night. This track will take you to your discomfort zone. The wolf is certainly not getting any lamb, but he is still that creepy guy I would dread meeting on a dark wet night, even around the corner.

Track 4 is almost 17 minutes. Slooooow drums to start with. The track is almost minimalistic to start with. Just a kick, then a snare with a cymbal. Then some feedback. Where is this going? Ah, it’s The Crimson Worm. If a snake is supposed to dance to this, it is wagging extremly slowly. The drums are alone in the rhythm for a while, just adding some gentle guitar feedback. But after a few minutes the doom guitar enters, and later something else is happening. And then that isn’t much either, slowly, slowly it builds itself. The sonic landscape this track creates is very exciting, though. And makes me in a state much happier. Although it’s dark and dirty, it has to have some of those frequencies or harmonies that makes me want to go and finally grab that cold beer. Mmm, that’s nice. The worm doesn’t really go anywhere, but it explores some sound that makes it exciting still. And it’s not over yet.

5th track. Electra Glide in Black. Jazkamer finishes off with again, a classic heavy.The name suggests to me to go and get me a bike, and get moving. Ok, I will. It starts off as a classic road heavy track, but moves after a short while in strange guitar mayhem. BUT then it fades away! What!?! It’s over? No more tracks? Crap, I was just getting into it…the track…

This record is a very good metal record, and follows the first in an excellent way. It’s dirty and dark. It’s fast and fun. It’s slow and scary. It’s got a lot of elements that you rarely find on one album. A bit short at 37 something minutes, but it fits nicely into a vinyl record, so hopefully we’ll see one of those appear as well. It is certainly no noise album, but I am equally fond of metal, so all the better for me. The Metal Music this machine produces has run on my player a few times aready, and it will again. I am certain this record will sell out, as it is a short run subscibtion thing, and being a bit more accessible than most Jazkamer releases, so run and get one if you can even find one.

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