PHILM: Fire From The Evening Sun
Label: UDR Music
U.S. Release Date: September 16, 2014
I wasn’t quite sure just what the AndroidVirus was trying to infect me with when I was assigned this to review, but it seems to have tackled my immune system and I have caught the disease. This is one hell of an album, and absolutely one of the most unique, original, truly genre-defying sonic-monoliths I’ve heard since the most recent Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats album. And I really loathe most modern “heavy” music. I just do, I’m a dinosaur, so what?
I was initially intrigued to find that Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo not only performs on this (I believe it is essentially his project), but produces as well. I was now curious. Vocal and guitar work is handled by prog-metal madman Gerry Nestler, and bass duties (of which this album is very bass-heavy) are handled by one “Pancho” Tomaselli. The name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it. The PR states he played with WAR. I figured it was the goofy black metal-satire act WAR from the late’90’s, considering the rest of the line-up. But I was very, very wrong. This is THE Pancho Tomaselli, as in WAR (“Lowrider,” “Cisco Kid,” etc.). This man is a fukking bass legend and genius handler of said instrument! My initial slight intrigue had now become a dire impatient curiosity.
So I sat down, put the headphones on, and gave it a listen. Then a couple more (always listen to a review-piece more than once; some things don’t catch upon first take).
Immediately I was drawn into a harsh, thickly layered and rich landscape of music that tells strange, almost biblically-epic-in-scope tales of metaphor and indecision, tales where there is no right and all ends in war, be it personally internal or cosmically apocalyptic. And the music positively oozes with an ancient atmosphere, the perfect soundscapes to accompany the lyrical hell-test tales, often sounding like trapped and panicked djinn, lost forever in the ruins and bellowing out their pain, hoping their jilted succubi lover will hear. This is a great disc; strong, intelligent, stuff.
And completely genre defying. As most of Dave Lombardo’s side projects (Phantomas, too many others to mention here) are, this falls under no one category. Mostly, I guess one could say its a deeply down-tuned stoner-doom blues with precisely timed rhythmic start-stops (and amazing percussion/rhythm trickery throughout), occasional blast-beats that immediately transmutate, along with the bass, into very moroccan/middle eastern influenced sounds, enhancing the well timed vocal trickery as well. Hints of old school thrash and punk can be heard throughout, amongst many other surprises, especially instrumentally. I hate sound comparisons, but take some of High On Fire’s first album, the experimental genre-refusal of Celtic Frost’s “Into The Pandemonium,” a little classic Trouble, and a dash of Agents of Oblivion (mostly in the vocals), do the whole blender thing.
My favorite tracks are “Silver Queen,” “Lion,” and the final, fascinating finish to the album, “Corner Girl.” This song, a straight-up blues piece, wraps the album up with a harsh tale of a crying, aging party-girl-turned-prostitute, at the absolute cross-roads of her rock bottom life. Then I realized that, this may possibly be a concept album. If indeed it is, the tale is both saddening and brilliant. If it isn’t, I’m just crazy. I’ll say no more on it. You’ll get it or you won’t.
Regardless, you should pick this album up ASAP, especially if you are tired of all the false metal thats been polluting one of our beloved musical minerals for quite some time now.
Vincent Daemon, writer and rabblerouser, can be followed on FB @ https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 , and join his blog The Writings Of A Depraved Mind @ http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/?zx=e40931ba40511a11