Review Summary: The final part of a crazy psychedelic/progressive trilogy...
Croatian psychedelic/progressive rock act, Seven That Spells returned with the final part of The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock
, aptly titled Omega
. It’s been a 4-year wait, but thankfully, the group took things to the next level here. Luckily for them (and us), Ex-Mars Volta drummer, Blake Fleming joined forces to craft a truly epic, twisted beast.
I like how the trilogy progressed from the noisy, Acid Mothers Temple-esque freak-outs to more tamed, structured tracks that feature catchy vocals and mesmerizing rhythms. IO
clearly paved the way for Omega
, as this is a tad more settled and song oriented. Again the album features two sonic behemoths between 3 shorter ditties. The title track begins as a mid-tempo groove, complete with punctuating, ’80s-inspired guitars and twangy leads. The Balkan “chants” have always been a treat for the listener and I am really happy the band decided to focus more on them. Breaking the stable patterns, the guys venture into a huge sounding odyssey where intertwining guitar licks play along to some real tight bass/drum interplay. When landing, a brooding synth remains in the background, until a thrilling segment unfolds. Featuring constant beat changes, each member does his own thing, occasionally crossing each other’s paths. What’s really interesting and admiring, is that the music can smoothly play along even if you pay close attention or not. There’s a lot to discover, especially during the shape shifting parts, yet one member always plays a melodic thingy on which you can separately concentrate and let it flow. This way, you can dive head first into prog bonanza if you feel like or simply nod your head and listen to the melodies. Meanwhile, the two surrounding cuts, ‘In III’ & ‘Chronos’ add a lot to the overall suspense. The former sets the mood through bouncing bass lines and motorik beats, whereas the guitars roam around. It feels like a Tarantino movie soundtrack, bringing some Western influences into the mix too. The latter is a droning number, whose soaring strings are backed by sparse hooks and a synth bass. It bridges the two monster tracks nicely, maintaining the apocalyptic vibe.
The paranoid feel of ‘Future Lords’ is infectious. The Eastern patterns, deep bass and droning guitar are hypnotizing, while the vocals improve the adventure in every way possible. Bursting into a distorted section whilst throwing a guitar-tearing solo, it’s like you’re thrown into deep waters without a chance to take a few deep breaths to prepare yourself. Although a trademark of theirs, Seven That Spells learned restraint, choosing clear arrangements over 10 minutes of psychedelic freak-outs. As percussion is added halfway through the wanderings, they build towards a huge finale that truly delivers. This direction was hinted to on late ‘00s records like Future Retro Spasm
or Acid Taking and Sweet Love Making
, however, I think they should keep throwing every once in a while curve balls like Cosmoerotic Dialogue with Lucifer
, because they are fun as well. Meanwhile, ‘Out III’ blows the accumulated steam off, using slightly dissonant guitars to meander over relaxed drumming. There are various tweaks underneath the layers and the mantric vocals give way to an expanding second half. Since we reach the end of this gripping, 3-part journey, I definitely want to revisit the other LPs. I believe STS have become a hidden gem in the psychedelic/progressive music these days. There’s a lot of work put in these albums and this blend of styles is incredibly fresh. This is a must listen and an early contender for album of the year. IO
was an excellent affair, yet the added layers on Omega
are ultimately more rewarding. I hope Blake Fleming continues his collaboration with the group, because he can definitely help them take their riffs to the next level.