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Shub-Niggurath - Les morts vont vite CD (album) cover





4.08 | 161 ratings

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5 stars Inspired by my recent vacation to Rhodos, Greece, down where the deep turquoise Aegean ocean unfolds its infinite beauty, I thought I'd do a word-wide musical road trip, swooping through all kinds of interesting places - starting up in one of my absolute faves of countries when it comes down to progressive music: France.

I'd like to apologize in advance to all you folks out there who appreciate the value of saving one's 5 star reviews for something special, unique, life-altering - this is going to be quite the masterpiece parade, yet I sincerely hope the people who know me well, also know that I don't throw them around like toffees at a hunger strike in Bangladesh. These are all albums that I've been dying to review for a looooong long time, and I would certainly feel refreshingly more relieved having gotten this crazy idea off my back.

No monkeys aloud unless we set to sea. Anybody who knows anything about anything knows that...

There are some albums that you already with confidence know halfway through your first spin of them, that they'll change the way you think about music forever and never quite looking at it in the same manner. It's perspective is what it is - making a huge bulge in your nice neatly arranged music world. Shub Niggurath's debut from 1986 did that for me. I rate it up among the same marvellous and illustrious echelons of progressive music as where the likes of King Crimson's Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Bubu's Anabelas, Magma's MDK, Amon Düül ll's Tanz Der Lemminge and the mighty Pawn Hearts from Van Damme Generator reside. It's literally that good. It changed my life, even if it sounds like a perplexingly mundane thing to say about something as esoteric and finite as music.

Prancing out on the musical scene in 1986 with an album that sounded like it was recorded at least 10 years earlier - these guys were about as casually nonchalant as a pair of tanning specialists at a drilling facility in mainland Greenland looking for ancient elongated ice cubes. The music sounds like Godzilla with a pair of big steel boots stomping furiously through town. The sheer musical girth this thing has is incomprehensibly ginormous. Much of this comes from the bass of death bobbing back and forth like a 50 foot anaconda doing gymnastics between two palm trees: BOOOUUUHHHH BAAAAAAAUUOOOWWW BOUUW BOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUWWWW BUUUOOOUHHHHH BOOOOOOHHHH BOUUUUUUUUUUUHHHH Responsible of this remarkable playing is Alain Ballaud, that all by himself could power up downtown Tokyo with a good two way stereo rack. He could be a tunnel burrower for all I know.

I've read a lot of different reviews saying that Les Mortes Vont Vite sounds scary and frightening, but the gloom it has is also heavily underlined, and at the same time counter-pointed by a deep bellowing groovy vibe that permeates the music, and I don't know about you guys, but I find it hard to associate funky danceable sounds - even if they are Zeulish like hell and probably every other genre-tag you care to apply to it as well - with fearful imagery. To me it sounds like National Health meet Univers Zero in a dark throbbing daturah induced nightmare. With the incessant feel of the mantraing high priestess incantations and the magic double-teamed percussion cement mixers make my mind wander to stroboscopic radiant images of a heavily sedated Jon Bonham engulfed in spiralling restrained anger. The opening track Incipit Tragaedia has always reminded this avid listener off a vexed blurred and unnerving take on Tenemos Roads. Call me crazy, but that's what I get.....The feel of Dave Stewart's angular organ riffing remoulded into the jittery kaleidoscopic harmonium/organ and piano extraordinaire Jean-Luc Herve who continues to amaze me with his strange and beautiful sorcery. He could have been a fine druid, had he been born in Wiltshire some 5000 years ago.........

Continuing the wondrous array of breathtaking musicians performing on this baby is the twin duo of guitar man Franck W. Fromy that evokes a certain John McLaughlin-trembling-with-flickering-anxiety feel to him - and the equally enticing trombone player Véronique Verdier. Together they conjure up a mountainous sonic landscape that edges it's wild and flabby tummy over the ash-coloured peaks of Kashmir like a majestic towering figure of power. It swoops through you like a napalm firestorm and leaves you on the tip of your chair throughout it's stubborn driving course with eyes peeled wide opened, erratic breaths and a sense of occasion that rivals a rather sudden earthquake in your right hand pocket. I'd give this record a million stars of white crystallized embers in a heartbeat.

This is essential listening, and anybody into progressive music owe it to themselves to hear this prodigal beautiful colossus at least once in their lifetime. It will make the small hairs on your back stand on end and equip your skull with a way of communicating with chatty black holes cortege-driving through the outskirts of the Universe.

Guldbamsen | 5/5 |


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