Sunday, June 20, 2010


Relatively short (only 40 minutes!) transmission from Campbell Kneale's vaguely doomed out slow burn juggernaut of metallicized outsider avant metal, the mighty Black Boned Angel. Recent outings under this guise have found Kneale adopting an almost classical approach to the idea of doom metal, with the last record, "Verdun," being nothing less than an ultra-punishing endurance test of glacial movement and bombastic (literally) noise comprised of overlapping recordings of machine gun fire overwhelming the obstinate stagnancy of the guitars. No wonder then that he would step back a bit and throw out two more easily digestible sides of vinyl for BBA's Conspiracy debut.
Comprised of two untitled tracks both clocking in at 19 minutes, "The Witch Must Be Killed" shows Kneale's obvious embrace of minimalism within the confines of BBA's chosen aesthetic. That he's able to stick to this single-minded sound after the room-filling sonic overloads of my beloved Birchville Cat Motel and keep it engaging as well as assaulting simply shows his awesome command of space, temper and placement in any genre of noise and drone whether it's metal or hyper-blissed heavenscraping.
The first track is as overtly "metal" as anything Kneale has ever lain down, opening with an ominous rumble that gives way to a belch of thick, scratchy guitars sloshing their way across a slow and sliming chromatic chord progression, the BBA template illustrated in bold and shocking colour for anyone to see. It's not evolution, just simple droning-and it's powerfully effective in establishing the "zone-out" mindset that accompanies most of Kneale's work under any moniker. As the track oozes along some rather intricate guitar harmonies develop, paying homage to Judas Priest and Iron Maiden as well as nodding slyly to the compositional abilities of latter day Metallica. It's some pretty deep riffing, all off time and elongated, and Kneale drags it out for everything it's worth until the whole thing novas out in a fizzy spasm, leaving only a wisp and a memory where once was devastating burning light.
The second track is much more indebted to the idea of the minimalist drone-a simple four chord riff repeated at length and ad nauseaum, supported by a buzzing skree underneath that sounds like a swarm of gnats run through a damaged amplifier cranked up past its maximum. The chords collapse out after about ten minutes and lay down a path for the weird and delirious sample of several voices conversing about god knows what for the remainder of the track, creating a mishmash of disembodied opinion and a blurred out human touchstone, an emissary from the cold void that BBA normally occupies in such crystalline isolation. It's a strange and unexpected turn from such a derivative project but Kneale should never be underestimated-again, his powers are such that this sonic soup is an easy success and just pulls you deeper into BBA's fucked up world. This track more than almost any other recalls Kneale's work with Birchville and for me, an utter awestruck and worshiping devotee, it's fun to hear these lines disappear into one another. The art always bears the mark of the individual if it's strong enough. In the case of Campbell Kneale, the art is larger than worlds. Obviously recommended, a narcoleptic triumph of buzzing anxiety.

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