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Herd Of Instinct - Herd Of Instinct CD (album) cover


Herd Of Instinct


Eclectic Prog

4.06 | 82 ratings

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5 stars Herd of Instinct, as the name would likely imply, proposes a primal, almost visceral take on experimental prog, armed with the latest technological tools of the trade, namely guitar synths and the Warr guitar , both propelled by some bruising drumming. Mark Cook is the Warr man, splashing a vast array of stringy colorations that defy logic, aided and abetted by Mike Davison on various electronic, electric and acoustic guitars as well as the sitar. Then comes along the drum maniac, Jason Spradlin who is a merciless percussor of the very finest ilk. The material is all instrumental, highly atmospheric but instinctive, almost prehistoric in a strange way, an interesting collage of modern and primeval. I am reminded in many ways of the original innovators of this style, the Summers-Fripp collaboration in the 80s that yielded the magnificent" I Advance Masked" and the slightly less brilliant "Bewitched". All the tunes are in the 5 minute range, nothing overtly symphonic or epic, just straightforward experimentation with lots of complex intricacies, amid gales of rhythmic fury and huge cascades of sound.

"Transformation" sets the tone, "Room without Shadows" takes it to another depth altogether, a taut, claustrophobic explosion of sound that will surprise the casual listener and draw them in seductively. Highlight track "Road to Asheville" offers up some flute salad, sitar and fabulous acoustic work on nylon guitar, all packaged tightly and tautly. On "Hex", slithering pools of serenity are assaulted by an unexpected brutal onslaught out of nowhere, devastating and ruthless. This Spradlin fellow really appeals to me a lot, a fantastic drummer who understands the polyrhythmic jungle and yet still beats the skins silly. The colliding guitar work is tremendous and exhilarating. "Blood Sky" even has a female vocal that gives it a delicate preciousness and a sense accessibility that are most gratifying. One will not fail to recognize the legendary Jerry Marotta on drums with his cymbal-less beat made so famous on classic Peter Gabriel albums. First appearance from Gayle Ellett on mellotron, he of Djam Karet fame, a musician who will soon join the core for their sophomore album. "Anamnesis" is technically intricate yet wholly accessible and ear- pleasant, a track featuring the tremendous Dave Streett on bass, King Crimson's Pat Mastelotto on drums and Markus Reuter on touch guitar. "Vibrissa" is the undeniable highpoint here, a colossal piece that screams, howls, sears and crashes like a phosphorous bomb gone berserk, propelled by the mighty Gavin Harrison himself, Davison and Ellett trading axe solos , Streett holding down the low end and Cook plastering the Warr all over the sonic package. The mood veers into jazzier percolations (Gavin really does wonders here!) and the entire track is pure travel and flight. "Possession" conjures up some more vocal samples from Kris Swensson and Gavin remains seated at the drum stool, as Cook, Davison and Reuter weave some axe magic, lush with treatments, loops and sonic manoeuvres, very cool and very vaporous. The "I Advance Masked" influence is very obvious throughout but especially here, as the guitars stitch oh so tightly. I just love solid music like this! "S. Karma" keeps the pace torrid and bellicose, arrayed with some tremendous fretless bass work from Mark Cook as well as some flute dashes, while Spradlin continues to establish his drumming credentials. The album concludes on the rampaging cavalcade "The Face of Another", a fitting finale of brooding exuberance, confidently expressed and ecstatically received.

This is one of the more stunning debut's by any American band ever, where drop-dead brilliant cinematographic music, fabulous production and sound, attractive artwork and devastating enjoyment coalesce as one Herd of Instinct, indeed! The Next one will be even better, believe it or not!

5 Flock Dispositions

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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