“Grey Wolves” should freak you the fuck out. It did me. But to really grasp the intensity of “Grey Wolves,” one must go to the songs predecessor and title track, “A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky.” This track opens up with a riff that's reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s “Houses of the Holy,” but ugly and menacing, and then it morphs into a chaotic frenzy of howled out agro vocals that send chills up the spine. Littered with shrill notes and atonal walls of abrasiveness, the song shifts in tempo numerous times, dragging us listeners on a white knuckle trip through someone’s nightmare. By the time the song begins to wind down, we nerve shattered listeners are grabbing for the crushed pack of cigarettes wadded up in our shirt pocket, and with shaking and unsteady hand, try lighting the cigarette freshly clenched between our lips. By now, the feedback from the end of the song has completely washed over us and we feel as if we’ve been able to salvage a small piece of our sanity. That is, until the feedback becomes “Grey Wolves” and that screeched, banshee vocal shatters the relative calm. And it’s not just the sudden vocals, but the explosion of distorted guitars and crash of stick to drum head and cymbal. I damn near jumped out of my flesh . . . skeleton running in panic down the street. The whole album does this to you! It lulls you into a state of complacency and then jumps out of the shadows to yell, “BOO!” A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky is the best horror movie that I’ve ever listened to! www.myspace.com/theatlasmothband
From Glory to Infinity is an album of contrasts. Granted, the vast majority of the material featured on the album is high speed, blackened, blast beat laden, death metal grinding, but Faust show us that they have diversity to their extreme approach. Maybe it’s their Italian heritage that has these guys offering up more classical sounding pieces than the average sound extremists, but whatever it is, it’s a good thing. So often, I pass over extreme metal offerings not because the music is so abominable, but because there’s no dimensional quality to it. For me, a piece of music needs to travel. It can go in a loop like a race car on a track, or it can meander along a course both serene and treacherous. Faust does a nice job of mixing all of the emotions up, and taking us on a more treacherous course. Throw in some amazing technical wizardry to the bombastic compositions just to show that they have the chops to hang with just about anybody and well, you know that just gets me right in the ticker.
Note on opening track, “Purple Children,” how Faust shifts out of the blast beat flurry and high octane note exchange, to a slower groove with heavily sustained chords. Nothing terribly fancy, but the contrast in tones creates a grandness to the song that would not have been there otherwise. On top of the bands ability to shift tempos in mid song, these guys use some great tones to the instruments to take the music places a lot of black or death metal doesn’t seem to go. Listen to the, again, beautifully executed tempo shift on “Wet Veils” just before the super melodic and technically adept guitar solo pushes against the waves of chaos. Great contrast! It’s an almost jarring transition, but one done very well. And then, of course, there’s “Sentimental Worship” and the great instrumental break with what sounds like a fretless bass laying down tones that would more commonly drift from the seedier jazz clubs. From Glory to Infinity is an epic listen and made captivating by the musical proficiency of the musicians at hand. www.myspace.com/faustband2
“Razzberry” captures the various death n’ roll characteristics as well as any songs out there by seamlessly shifting from oppressive death metal riff to a metal movement that’s damn near bouncing. There’s an underlying tension running through the song, and it all finally bursts wide open near the midpoint. “Boomer” has a serious bounce to it, but again, the song features huge elements of death with the massive pounding of the double bass drums and wall of distorted guitars. “Rats” is the be all, end all track for me. Fairly short and to the point, the song is made up of a huge riff, a powerhouse groove, fuck all aggressive lyrics and convincing attitude. “Rats” is as metal as it gets! From the Ground is a defiant album filled with songs about inner strength and self reliance. - Pope JTE