Review Summary: A herd of destriers pulverising the grapes of wrath in the rolling plains.
"Click, click: Pow!" Without warning begins a colossal serpentine journey of undulating peaks and valleys, not unlike the the land from which these alcohol-soaked Swiss originate. The ballistic crack of Raph's snare signals the bludgeoning start of "Ammunition Matters," with Reno's ursine roaring, to a constant conversion in riffage, where the song takes a fluid downshift, and Reno's extremely versatile throat reveals itself to be a sonorous gloom-filled moan, with a backup vocalist layering pitch-perfect harmony. This is only two and a half minutes in, which gives one the impression that this album is anything but the median, or common for that matter.
Full disclosure: I reviewed this album last year on another site, with different words, under a different name and probably a slightly different impression, and coming back to it, it holds up just as strong as when I was initially scalped, and has thus compelled me to share my enthusiasm with others here.
Switzerland's Kruger began in 2001, after inactivity from their other bands had given them the itch to create anew. They released a full length in 2002, and then again in 2004. Upon the release of "Redemption Through Looseness", they went with Kurt Ballou of Converge for the mix, and for reasons that are obvious, they chose wisely.
Although every instrument is crystal clear, it is enveloped in a thick fog of beauteous sludge, as though the apparition of a dryad were slowly departing from a swamp, her otherworldly heaving breasts wrapped in moss and cattails; glowing cerulean eyes beckoning. "Queen of the Meadows" has a see-saw swayback hip swinging riff that just makes you want to grab the nearest dirt merchant gutter girl and make those dreads go flying in pirouettes and slam-dancing.
The guitars here make me salivate with want and desire, perfect cuts of medium-rare filet-mignon riffs, a fuzzed out truffle and garlic reduction bass sits in a deep pocket, surrounded by garlic butter mashed potatoes drumming with jazzy flourishes of cilantro and tomato. Hell yeah! When they harmonize its like knives cutting through all that 'liscious meaty chunks. To keep up some ridiculous food metaphors; because you can almost smell what these guys are cooking right out of the speakers, this nine-course meal has all of the diversions and surprises that you expect from a top-notch sonic meal.
Not that these guys are chinese takeout or anything, but even though post-metal has already been led to pasture and shot in the head as a result of being increasingly lame, riding a horse of a different color can still yield interesting results. "Army of Lovers" straddles the fence overlooking the Toolshed and Isis's vast steppes, citing tricks of polyrhythmic shuddering bass and drums, Adam Jonesian picking, and start-stop calisthenics overflowing into mercurial expanses of heavy wheat field waves crashing, ebbing and flowing as the the bearded banshee keens like the blowing of the wind during an electrical storm. Black beauty indeed! That one part in the book when the titular horse has to outrun the prairie fire before it overtakes him is reminiscent as to where this song picks up two-thirds to the end. The great thing about this slow-burner is that it starts out almost as a Tool-fronted-by-Ozzy goof, and ends in thundering Entombed grizzly theatrics.
The entirety of this disc is so dense with riffs, ideas, breaks, changes and everything but the kitchen sink (actually, that makes a cameo appearance in "War and Wine") that you might feel a bit fatigued from the wall-of-sound maelstrom, and the second to last track "Cowboy Song", which does not quite reach the dizzying heights and abrupt lows of the other tracks. The fact that its the shortest song is a saving grace which is why I gave the whole shebang a four instead of a straight five. The last track "Crusaders" mercifully lays off the gas pedal a bit and langourously lets a spacey solo wend its way through the muck of the bottom tuned open stringed riff.
I just want to take a moment to point out you all that this band would not be nearly as compelling without the drummer, who keeps everything moving with a consistent tribal roll, and his fills are constantly tasteful and always appropriate. This music would almost be polite in its competence were it not so clamoring and explosive. Their intentions laid bare, I am very confident that these five gentleman-drunks were exceedingly pleased with the outcome of this effort. Please hesitate only if you have to cross a busy highway before you get this.