U.S. Release Date 06/12/12
As a critic I do have a personal quirk when in comes to jazz. I like my jazz to be my personal Feng Shui with balance, symmetry and perspective. I am old school. Ebb and flow should strike a logical balance from album title and cover art to any possible conceptual nature the artist wishes to explore.
Naturally when I received Metallic Taste Of Blood my immediate thought was of a less than memorable Thanksgiving dinner at a relatives house and then I became nervous wondering if I had just been sent a thrash metal release to pass judgement on. Instead RareNoise records does not just push the sonic envelope but sends it registered mail! This at times edgy self titled debut is another head turner from what may well be one of the most adventurous labels today yet there is an intriguing dichotomy here. Finding a logical path in the midst of sonic fury is the task at hand which could prove a daunting task for some critics. It is described by bassist Colin Edwin as "unsettling, but strangely satisfying at the same time." MTOB is in fact a structured ensemble and the release has the intended conceptual nature as that of a modern day more organic opera in presentation. The self indulgent trip wire never goes off here!
The mastermind of this auspicious recording is guitarist/producer Eraldo Bernocchi, bassist Colin Edwin along with keyboard player Jamie Saft and drummer Balazs Pandi. Together this formidable 4tet explore the spatial concept that lingers between a fusion of metal, progressive dub, alternative rock and free jazz. Add a slightly techno/ambient texture that weaves in and out of various tunes and the end result is post modern music exploring its full range of possibilities. "Bipolar" has the alternative overtones with an intoxicating ambient smooth approach until the bone crushing intensity of Bernocchi and drummer Pandi kick into high gear before another sonic rebound back to the more progressive alternative state of the tune. "Maladaptive" has furious fuzz bass lines as the band leads you into another realm of the genre unknown. "Twitch" is more expansive and cinematic in scope. A wonderful tune in search of a brilliant film. Bernocchi's classic but slightly more modern approach to reverb is stunning on "Twitch" as well as the more stately sound of "Glass Chewer." Throughout this release the music is not as one would always expect thanks to the more socially acceptable commercial pablum served here in the United States. As often said, musical frames of reference can be a dangerous game to play as taste is subjective. If as a listener your comfort zone is more narrow in scope then think Pink Floyd meets Metallica on the way to a Allan Holdsworth show. Sound good?
MTOB can be challenging as it requires the long lost art of listening to appreciate the subtle nuances amidst the fury that while intense is not lacking in certain transferable jazz sensibilities. There has literally been nothing off the RareNoise Records catalog I have not liked. This is a stunning release that would have most American label executives looking for a length of rope and rickety stool. Heavy metal meets ambient free jazz? Call it what you will it is an expansive release that will hit you hard on both the visceral and cerebral levels.
Tracks: Sectile; Schizopolis; Glass Chewer; BiPolar; Maladaptive; King Cockroach; Crystals And Wounds; Fist Full Of Flies; Twitch; Transverse.
Personnel: Eraldo Bernocchi: guitar; Colin Edwards: bass; Jamie Scott: piano/keyboards; Balazs Pandi: drums.