By DJ Monk

Artwork for Necroscape by tētēmaLike any educated rock fan, regular ÜR subscribers will be more than familiar with the name of Mike Patton, frontman of the legendary Faith No More and Mr Bungle, among other bands to whom you genuinely should need no introduction. You may, however, be less familiar with this, another of his multiple side projects, as debut offering ‘Geocidal’ more or less slipped under the radar of many critics and listeners alike. Now, after five years of experimentation with a combination of old and new sonic dynamics, Patton and his partner in crime Anthony Pateras have re-emerged into the sunlight with this extremely avant-garde follow up?

Did I say avant-garde? Well, that’s hardly a surprising adjective for anything involving Mike Patton as he is an artist and lyricist who always has been known for bending, and often breaking, the rules and pushing the envelope so far that it teeters right on the tipping point… And ‘Necroscape’ demonstrates this reputation to full effect, exploring multiple soundscapes simultaneously in ways which often clash and crash against each other, all the while adding to the immersive experience of the overall aural experience.

And an experience ‘Necroscape’ certainly is. It’s the sort of album that really needs to be listened too, late at night, with the curtains drawn and the lights out, a sole candle flickering in the corner while the speakers are turned up to the just below painfully distorting level, rather than a 3pm on a sunny afternoon, which is when I am hearing it for the first time. There certainly is plenty going on, from avant jazz noir through looped balls of fuzz to overdubbed throat singing to barrages of post-punk noise, as the album twists and turns in and around itself with plenty of surprises along the way, from Patton’s febrile vocal interjections to stabbing, distorted violin disharmonics that fuel the complete sense of dystopian madness that the album evokes.

It’s also a difficult listen: by three-quarters of the way through the fourth track, ‘Haunted On The Uptake’, I genuinely was struggling to keep up, mostly because I couldn’t find a single, clearly marked reference point. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, it fucks off up it’s own backside and comes back with something completely different. If I was to find a reference point, it would be Skinny Puppy jamming Ron Geesin covers with The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. The album’s theme apparently is isolation in the surveillance age: it’s not so much the soundtrack to the current period of isolation we’re all experiencing but that of the inevitable wall-climbing that it inevitably has already produced.

Definitely the weirdest and most “out there” album you’ll hear this year. Whether or not you’ll want to hear it again… well, let us know.

‘Necroscape’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

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