Review Summary: Current 93 are just as consistent as ever. Baalstorm, Sing Omega is one of 2010’s hidden gems, and it’s a mighty fine record.Heard of Madame Max?
She hides her gargoyle eyes
Reflects torture and landslides
Her carrion gun is cocked
And ready for flight
When BaalStorm shudders
So I’ve been sitting here for the past couple of hours trying to collect and jot down my thoughts on just how unfathomably odd Baalstorm, Sing Omega
is and I just can’t find the words to describe it. The only concisely realized thought I have is: ‘What. The. Fu
ck.’ Being that I’m not intimately familiar with ‘neo-folk’, it’s difficult for me to place this album against something of substantial praise, but despite that, I can confirm that the music here is completely drenched in odd textures and contorted vocals, and it’s all the better for it. For those of you not in the know, Current 93 is a prolific British group that was founded by David Tibet, whose since been the only consistent member. Right from the get-go it’s apparent that this is a band that thrives on their ability to convey lurid imagery through Tibet’s nursery-rhyme-esque lyrics and subtle textures.
Fans of the older Current 93 might find Baalstorm, Sing Omega
a little uncomfortable at first, mainly because of the vocals - taking on a more profound style - and the lovely acoustic passages fans fawn over have gone by the wayside. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, as they’ve allowed themselves more room to explore and venture out further. “With Flowers in the Garden of Fires” has a Middle Eastern feel to it; “Passenger Aleph in Name” features strings you’d expect to hear the Kronos Quartet playing for an OST like The Fountain
; and “I Dreamt I Was Aeon” has a backing synth similar to something you’d hear a band like Styx come up with, except darker. It’s definitely varied enough to merit a full listen from any long-standing fans of the band or newcomers for that matter.
Current 93 have perhaps even written their best song to date on Baalstorm, Sing Omega
. Demented organ, crows squawking, unintelligible children spontaneously screaming, smooth strings, overly enunciated vocals, sampling of wind, striking lighting, and crashing cymbals all make up for what is “I Dance Narcoleptic”. Sounds retarded, doesn’t it? It is, but in such a way that the listener becomes immersed in the overtly dark and wacky nature of both the music and Tibet’s excoriating voice. It’s the bewilderment at the miscellaneous nature of “I Dance Narcoleptic” that allows for replay value and makes it so essential. To put it into perspective: think of a time when you’ve witnessed something truly disturbing or odd, but couldn’t help but continue to maintain focus on it. This is the charm behind “I Dance Narcoleptic” - it invites you to open your mind to its disturbing and unconventional nature and sticks in your head as a result of simply being different. After the song is over we’re graced with white noise emulating the sound of a torrent waterfall descending over a steep, rocky surface and a contextual stream of dreamy vocals. It’s a more than fitting end to a considerably outlandish album.
Unfortunately Current 93 will continue to be overlooked by people, despite being pioneers of the so-called ‘apocalypse/neo-folk’ genres and going strong for twenty five plus years now. Baalstorm, Sing Omega
is another fine addition to their gargantuan discography and a hidden gem of 2010. My only criticism is that certain songs are overlong and the vocals tend to come off as cheesy at times (they can be really over-the-top). Despite that, there’s not much in the way of stopping this from being an extraordinary listen. Of course it goes without saying that Current 93 aren’t for everyone, but they’re perhaps one of the most innovative bands still making consistently enjoyable music.