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Klangstorm | The Last Resort (AtAnyTime)
Klangstorm return. Do not fear, we haven't turned into Kerrang and Klangstorm aren't a Bruce Dickinson influenced six piece but, in fact, a British based improvisational collective whose previous album ('2lowtek4hitek') was a fresh, freewheeling collection of songs and jams that looked back towards Zappa and the Grateful Dead while also treading similar waters to some of the recent post (or is it post-post?) rockers. Their new album comes with a better sleeve (no Queen pastiche this time) and starts with a nine minute piece of musique concrete, a swathe of ambient noise that doesn't really prepare you for what's to come. Things pick up on the next track, Emotion Sickness, which kicks off with a superb, stonking, squealing sax-led jam reminiscent of 'Bitches Brew'-era Miles Davis, then moves towards a guitar / sax duel that's held in place with a drumbeat as tight as a pair of leg irons. Then, just as you're settling in, keyboards start hissing, producing flying saucers noises and man, it's great. The piece is let down somewhat by a sung section that seems out of place with the modernist persuasions of the music but quickly recovers with a rambunctious John McLaughlin-style guitar solo. The track as a whole serves as the DNA for what follows. Bits and pieces are expanded on, revised and progressed through the next hour. Highlights include Sea of Sleep an Edgar Allen Poe-like (female) spoken word piece that with its ethereal ambience ably evokes an atmosphere of loss and despair, and Once More... a dark, insidious drone-laden beast that all of a sudden erupts into a tornado of guitar solos. The playing throughout the album is superb, especially the sax and drums which counterpoint each other with a tough precision. The vocal tracks are somewhat less successful as the fluidity and movement of the band is sacrificed for a more structurally oriented piece. Luckily the jams and improvisations outweigh the less successful pieces to create a densely woven album of several moods and tones that occasionally erupts into something you could swear came off the lost 'In A Silent Way' sessions.
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003