Review Summary: Mr. Bungle on a bad acid trip.
If you haven’t heard of Faith No More frontman Mike Patton’s “side project” Mr. Bungle
(for shame), let me try to break down their sound for you. It’s as if you took every style and evolution that music has undergone – from swing to funk, alt. rock to death metal, bossa nova to circus music, and everything in between – and projectile vomited them all onto a blank canvas, then proceeded to watch the vomit seamlessly take the shape of a beautifully bizarre, abstract stroke of sonic genius. It’s the best of all worlds, and is completely coherent in doing so. Now, in the case of Miami-based quartet Orbweaver
, their sound can be described as taking Mr. Bungle’s already clusterfucked soundscape, wrapping it in a straitjacket and locking it in an insane asylum for fifty years. Yes, Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon
is music from the future: a sadistic acid trip; an aural venture through the mind of a sociopathic astronomer. It’s an absolute mindfuck; and pure and simple, it’s art.
Trying to explain precisely what goes on during the half-hour of Strange Transmissions
is an exercise in futility. You’d think by the Bungle analogy that this is an incoherent loud mess of an EP, but it’s quite the contrary. All five tracks are impeccably written. The song structures (in a loose sense of the word) prevent any one style from clashing with another, and each track has recurring themes that help shape them together fluently. Opener ‘Xoxotic’ is the most straightforward of the bunch, immediately hitting you over the head with grindcore insanity and shrieking blast beats. Time signatures come and go as they please. Progressive interludes are jammed in between marcato hits, with a psychedelic death metal break thrown in for good measure. And this is just the first track. Throughout the album you’ll be greeted by Neurosis
-esque yelling passages, atonal spacey atmospheres, and screeching guitars over methodical blast beats in ‘Crystal Prisms’. The last two tracks, clocking in at 6-and-a-half and 8-and-a-half minutes respectively, are the slow burners here. Penultimate instrumental ‘Tragic Orbit’ in particular begins with an ominous clean guitar motif that is joined by tribal drumming before it goes all out spaz-mode a couple minutes in. The final third of the track does the enigmatic subtitle “A Doomed, Cosmic Starship” justice, aptly conjuring the sensation of a space probe cruising through the outer rim of the galaxy before getting sucked violently into a black hole.
It may sound like Orbweaver’s debut EP is a lot to take in, and in a way it is. From the coming and going of sludgy doom sections and squealing guitar leads, Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon
is a thirty one-minute roller coaster through the sanatorium of music itself. All you can hope to do is strap in and hope for the best.
Those of Non-Being
Tragic Orbit: A Doomed, Cosmic Starship