Ozric Tentacles
Technicians of the Sacred


3.5
great

Review

by ComeToDaddy USER (48 Reviews)
August 3rd, 2015 | 27 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dipping toes in uncharted waters.

Ozric Tentacles have never really tried to break out of their niche. You can hear definite progression through their earlier works, where the band started utilizing their instruments in more interesting and unique ways. Over time, the intricate guitar acrobatics gave way to more diverse influences, with foreign instrumentation often driving tracks forward. Elements of funk, reggae and psytrance became a prominent aspect of their music, and though these influences never pushed the band away from the spacey psychedelic foundation of their music, it made each album worth listening to. Sure, these changes were only incremental, but it gave each release a different flavour and justification for their existence. Over the last decade, that’s been sorely missing. Consistent as ever, they haven’t necessarily released a bad album, but they haven’t provided something new with each release. Cherry-picking influences from older works has provided the albums with substance and style, but they’ve always simply fallen short of pieces they’ve written in the past. Technicians of the Sacred changes that.

Maybe this change has been slowly culminating due to the revolving door of musicians the band has seen (15 lineup changes in as many years). A fire destroyed their recording studio, archives and instruments in 2012, which may have sparked a change of some sort in Ed Wynne, the primary songwriter and sole consistent band member. Whatever the case may be, the additions made here give this album a unique identity for the first time in years and make it their most refreshing since 2000’s The Hidden Step. They haven’t reinvented the wheel though. This album isn’t going to make new fans out of OT detractors, and the changes are admittedly minor, but they have significance for a band in stagnation.

‘The High Pass’ opens the album with little fanfare, building in a stereotypically Ozric Tentacles manner. However, as opposed to emphasizing the electronic palette the band has favoured of late, they reveal their trump card at the outset. Wynne’s guitar, often reserved for later cuts, tears through the track like a knife. Aggressive soloing and unexpectedly punchy riffing raise the intensity until it becomes what is potentially the most powerful opener the band have put to record. The song ultimately still sounds exactly like an OT song, but the timing is impeccable. It engages the listener right off the bat, and makes the laid-back ‘Butterfly Garden’ a nice respite. There are still some moments where melodies are repeated one too many times, but the structure of the album makes it much more forgiving on the listener.

‘Changa Masala’ starts to become one-dimensional, but then aggressively shifts pace, rapidly building over a short 30 second period to unleash a blazing acoustic solo unlike anything they’ve put to record before. It shares more in common with Shpongle than their own back catalogue. From the heavy eastern influence underpinning album highlight ‘Epiphlioy’, through to the dub swagger of ‘Rubbing Shoulder with the Absolute’, the band make a concerted effort to introduce new sounds into the mix. This approach can often lead to clunky songwriting and a lack of flow, and while the band occasionally falters, they succeed far more often in this case. On top of this, the band have cut back on electronica and returned to the tangible instrumentation highlighting their 90’s opuses. The spacey aesthetic is still there, but it’s not prominent enough to give a synthetic feel to the mix like it was in Paper Monkeys.

Ozric Tentacles still have all the same tricks fans know and love, but they integrate them alongside new traits with the finesse and care you’d expect from a project that’s existed for over 30 years. 90 minutes is a long time for OT’s brand of spacey psychedelic rock, and one key flaw is that the album wears thin in places. At the end of the day it’s not going to convert detractors, but they’re also not out to convert them – they want to satisfy long-time fans, which they achieve here in spades. It’s a throwback of sorts, but it also takes an important step forward from the place they’ve made their home for the last decade. It’s the first album since Spirals in Hyperspace that I can actually see myself coming back to every few weeks, eager for the punchy riffs in the centre of ‘Epiphlioy’ or the euphoric crescendos of ‘Zingbong’. And at this stage of their career, that’s the most important thing; Technicians of the Sacred has an identity and a defined place in their discography. It’s unlikely the band will set out upon uncharted waters anytime soon, but just dipping their toes in is more than enough for now.



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user ratings (31)
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
ComeToDaddy
August 3rd 2015


1839 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This review has come a little late so I can't find official streams, but the whole thing is up on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cmg7wXhy41I

The low average disappoints me a little since I feel this is their best by a fair margin since a decade ago. It's swung between a 3 and 3.5 for a long time, but I gave the band the benefit of the doubt because I adore them. I think I'll make an effort to review some of their best albums and get them a little exposure, really enjoyed writing this one.

ComeToDaddy
August 3rd 2015


1839 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also for any fans of the band who haven't checked this out yet, I strongly recommend jamming Epiphlioy. It's really similar to 'Saucers' from Strangeitude, but has riffs and a more balanced eastern influence. One of my favorite songs this year

Sabrutin
August 3rd 2015


7990 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I had only known OT for a few tracks, but I enjoyed this album even if it's probably a bit too long. Great background music.

ComeToDaddy
August 3rd 2015


1839 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah the chill sections are fantastic for playing in the background. If you enjoyed this I'd definitely recommend you check their early 90's albums like Erpland and Become the Other, all of their best tracks are undoubtedly from that era

Sabrutin
August 3rd 2015


7990 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

A friend of mine already pointed towards them, I will check them out for sure in the future.

pissbore
August 3rd 2015


12759 Comments


i've really been enjoying this one, picked up the CD a few weeks ago

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 3rd 2015


9274 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I have to agree with Sabrutin's assessment, and the magnitude of the rating average.



Band was a prog/folk rock behemoth up until the late '90s, but unfortunately, the lineups that gave classics like Become The Other, were disintegrated.

Digging: RuYYn - RYYn

pissbore
August 3rd 2015


12759 Comments


hear this one bro it's definitely got the classic ozric vibe



Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 3rd 2015


9274 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

^^It has the ozric vibe indeed, it's just that it doesn't top their '90s stuff.

Veldin
August 3rd 2015


4568 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

OH FUCK DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS

Veldin
August 3rd 2015


4568 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've heard like 8 or 9 of their albums, so I'm stoked for this. Good review, mate. (invisible) Pos'd

JamieTwort
August 3rd 2015


26988 Comments


"Band was a prog/folk rock behemoth up until the late '90s"

Wait what?

sonictheplumber
August 3rd 2015


13730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i bet its easy to make music like this

Digging: Soundtrack (Film) - Dirty Dancing

sonictheplumber
August 3rd 2015


13730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

shitty album cover though man they nee3d to get whoever did their 90s shit

Veldin
August 3rd 2015


4568 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And it's a double LP, ffffuuuuccckkk

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
August 3rd 2015


2654 Comments


Excellent review, it's intrigued me more to listen to this album. I remember dipping my ears into OT land (the 80s/early 90s material to be exact) and being pleasantly surprised.

Digging: Abstracter - Abominion

ComeToDaddy
August 3rd 2015


1839 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Veldin, I didn't know either. Maybe they just didn't advertise it at all until close to the release date but I'm a religious OT fan and only found out about this a couple of weeks ago. Really disappointed I couldn't get a hold of it early enough to have a potentially featured review and some exposure for them.

@linguist, cheers man. Definitely recommend checking it out if you liked what you heard, as far as modern OT goes this is as good as it gets,

pissbore
August 3rd 2015


12759 Comments


i actually dig the cover tbh

but yeah blim's covers were the shit

Cygnatti
August 4th 2015


35363 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

ozric tortellini

pissbore
August 4th 2015


12759 Comments


would eat



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