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Moonchild Trio - The Crucible CD (album) cover

THE CRUCIBLE

Moonchild Trio

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.66 | 10 ratings

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TCat
Special Collaborator
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars "The Crucible" is John ZORN's MOONCHILD TRIO's fourth album. For those that don't know, this band was formed to some of ZORN's avant garde music, and this album is, as are the others, a combination of improvised jazz, doom metal, modern- classical music and power chord rock. Quite a quirky combination. Along with that, you get the vocal antics of Mike Patton (Faith No More, Tomahawk, Mr. Bungle, etc.) who provides his crazy vocals and also scary readings from dark tomes, Trevor Dunn's heavy bass (Mr. Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3), and avant garde drummer Joey Baron who has worked with Zorn quite often. John Zorn actually becomes part of the band on this album with his alto sax, and Marc Ribot also joins in on the track "9x9".

Right away, "Almadel" shocks you into paying attention as it stars out with Patton screaming at full high-pitched volume, the chunky bass comes in and soon Zorn's sax starts to squeal. It's not too long before the music morphs into a more melodic style that quickly veers off in to maniacal territory and back to melody again. Zorn carries the whole thing along with Patton as they determine the level of craziness to sanity moving from each with the greatest of ease. It's as wild as one would expect. How Patton doesn't blow his voice out is beyond me. His vocals are unbelievable going from wordless squealing and noise to growling recitations. After 5 minutes, the bass finally gets to shine through and the melodic singing returns as it follows Zorn's sax almost note for note. "Shapeshifting" (3:20) begins right away with a catchy bass and drum riff, and Patton begins to carry on, soon tearing all catchiness away and shredding it all to pieces with screaming sax and yelling, but with dark heavy bass and chaotic drums. Ha! For a minute you thought you were going to get into the groove here but everyone sees to it that we won't tolerate dancing here. Patton soon turns into a screaming wild cat and then a cannibalistic chanter.

"Maleficia" begins with a rumbling bass and airy effects probably brought to you by Patton. The music stays dark and forboding, yet quiet until just before 2 minutes before the sax and bass erupt into chaos and then fall back into dark rumblings again. As it goes on, the sax takes over with avant garde style screeching and screaming while the background continues to rumble along, the sax stopping only to let Patton incorporate Gollum-like vocals. "9x9" is definitely quite a bit different as Ribot's guitar adds a more rock-like riff with his guitar controlling things from going entirely off the rails. Of course, Patton sees to it that this not a typical rock song, but Ribot does his best to keep control of the situation. It's a nice (somewhat) change of pace after the chaotic craziness of the rest of the album. This is the closest thing to being commercial, but I doubt you'll ever hear anything like this on the radio anyway as it is hard to sing along with Patton (follow the bouncing ball everyone).

For the most part, the album then returns to the wild antics of before, but expect surprises like the melodic jazz section in "Hobgoblin" or the infectious bass in "Witchfinder". The music is mostly the wild crazy improvisational sound that you have been experiencing so far, but it's more than just noise. Its excellent musicianship and composition, melding together music styles that you wouldn't expect to be melded together.

The album is dedicated to Anonin Artaud, Edgard Varese, and Aleister Crowley. With a dedication like that, you should expect what you are hearing, but if this is your first experience with Moonchild Trio, you won't be ready anyway. But just listen to the layers of talent here, its quite amazing, and very, very unsettling.

TCat | 4/5 |

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