Aug 26, 2012
Black Bombaim - "Titans" ...
This incredible team lead by the trio subdivided their (semi-)improvised performances into four long chapters that occupy the four sides of the two Titans LPs. The band’s style relies on exquisite cosmic to acid heavy bluesy psychedelic jamming with some retro tinge, very much in the vein of Carlton Melton, The Head, Wooden Shijp, Earthless, as well as John Cipollina, Bevis Frond, Outskirts of Infinity, etc., and even back to the very roots, Blue Cheers, Cream, Hawkwind, MC5 and the likes. However the frequent steering towards Sleep-inspired approach to lysergic psych-doom as well as the personal touch by the guests turned the instrumental improvisations in Titans into an almost avantgarde psych metal hybrid where keyboards, electronics and sax as well are involved together with some unusual strained vocals.
The four tracks building up the album do not carry any specific name, as there is no need to. Each of them occupies one side of the two LPs (in the limited double vinyl edition) and so they are simply called A, B, C and D side, followed by the names of the guests involved:
A Side - Noel V. Harmonson, Adolfo Luxúria Canibal, Jorge Coelho, Shela (19:47)
B Side - Tiago Jónatas, Guilherme Canhão (18:34)
C Side - Steve Mackay, Isaiah Mitchell (16:01)
D Side - Ghuna X, HHY, Tiago Pereira (10:36)
The A Side, involving guests Noel V. Harmonson, Adolfo Luxúria Canibal, Jorge Coelho and Shela, is the longest track, almost 20 minutes, but it flows away effortlessly due to the richness of the composition: rumbling bass lines, boiling hot psych riffs made magmatic by the wide employment of effects and insertion of keyboards and of unexpected utters from a guttural voice. The voice is declamating “titans” and verses in Portuguese while sounding halfway between Tom Waits’ rough wailing and a black-death metal singer’s rants. Weird but interesting effect! This is the only track where minor vocals are employed. In psychedelia drumming is often essential, if not a bit subdued, as guitars and bass endorse the biggest efforts in generating a tentacular soundscape. But drummer Paulo is (b)eating his way out of the riff jammings with powerful and moderately syncopated rhythms. In the A Side Paulo is even providing two minutes of substantial solo drumming backed by light spacey echoes from the guitar pedals, very much like in a jazzy jam session. After about 14 minutes of the psychedelic vortex created by bass, guitar, drumming and vocals the musicians leave their weapons down for some two minutes of soothing silence where a slow, delicate shread of an acoustic guitar vibrates with a melancholic mood. Soon time comes for a reprise in a subdued but majestic doomy way via slow plodding riffs and the solemnity of retro-sounding keyboards (in the vein of Deep Purple or Wicked Lady). The fading of the keyboard sound at the end of the A Side merges with the subdued intro of the B Side whose smoooth continuity with the previous track can be appreciated in the digital version of the release.
The beautiful B Side, involving guests Tiago Jónatas and Guilherme Canhão, sees the band and their guests paying a due hommage to early, glorious Pink Floyd and British retro psychedelia. Therefore sounds and atmospheres are soft, very much keyboard-driven and absolutely out of the world, dilated, spacey and spectacularly retro-flavoured thanks to an unmistakeable and relentlessly pumping bass sound, the combination of pedals, echoed keyboards, and the employment of Theremin. This suite as well is somehow subdivided into distinct parts, where the contribution of Ricardo’s is uneavenly distributed. Ricardo’s mighty, psyched-out acid riffs are blooming in all their grandeur, energy and almost surgical precision and complexity in the long, mind-blowing central jamming. Ricardo’s seemingly casual wandering in the psychedelic territories is kept tight by the essential backing by Tojo’s deep-sounding bass and Paulo’s touches on cymbals and drums. It is awesome how the initial cosmic psych jamming effortlessy turns into a final killer retro, heavy psych bluesy session involving alll available guitars and effects until a slowing down of the pace and the return of the Theremin close the circle.
The peculiarity of dynamic C Side, involving Steve Mc Kay and Isaiah Mitchell, is the employment of Steve’s sax jammings. Sax is added to the great performance of guitars beautifully reverbered by wah wah effects and the tight, galloping drumming which gets intensified in waves. The sleazy sax jamming takes place only during the first 3-4 minutes of this magnificent 16 minutes-long psychedelic suite. The rest is mostly in Ricardo’s magic hands (or fingers). The crazy cosmic/weed guitar jamming is occasionally plunging into straight, dirty-sounding vintage heavy psych blues backed by an awesome vibrating bass line. It is like being on a time machine with destination: Deep Seventies.
The closing suite, C Side, involves Ghuna X, HHY and Tiago Pereira and is the shortest track, “only” 10 minutes-long. After some soft background noise, a long, sinister keyboard note will make you feel uneasy for a few minutes during its crescendo. This track is surely doomy and almost funereal also riff-wise. When the downtuned guitars and the thunderous drumming emerge and swallow the fading keyboard sounds it is the turn of a spectacular jamming starting like some straight dark Sabbathian doom and smoothly evolving into a flamboyant retro blues rock spyral easily making you roll over the carpet into pure dope ecstasys. Towards the end distortion and effects make the guitars howl and wail like imaginary, out-of-the-world animals uttering their last call to the fading sun. And in a few seconds some soft electronic glitches put an end to this magic adventure.
The production of this new album by Black Bombaim is immense. Titans is very beautiful even in the digital version which has the advantage of entering into this long psychedelic travel without interruption till the end.
But the double LP is essential for best appreciating the multiple shades and flavours of this majestic slab of modern lysergic psychedelia deeply rooted in the glorious tradition as in a solemn, introspective ceremony, a bit like when listening to Sleep. You, your vintage hi-fi, Black Bombain and nothing else to be bothered about …
Words: Marilena Moroni
P.S.: … Do not miss Black Bombaim in concert, in Central Europe, in a short while!
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