Monday, August 16, 2010

Critical Theatre – Nine Tenths of the Law : Noise / Dark ambient / Drone

Reviewed by Gird_09

Usually, if you hand me guitar based noise I will be very sceptical. Too often have I been disappointed by what purports to be noise, but really is rock and roll with very little skill. Critical Theatre is not one of these instances. Quite the opposite.

As implied, the music is based around guitar and various other sound sources. The guitar provides a dynamic distorted soundscape that matches well with the other sounds – such as strings, percussive samples, detuned rythmic noises, drones as well as distorted melodies. It's very atmospheric, in a way I can only describe as sepulchral. There is a taint of horror in the music, but it always seems to be waiting around the next bend. It's never in your face, and it's never over the top. The distant melodies that linger somewhere in the distance provides an eerie counterpoint to the monstrously distorted guitars, and the steadiness and of the subtle conveyor belt beats. The recording reminds me somewhat of a more melodic version of strotter inst, but apart from that it is hard to pigeonhole.

The generated aural landscapes are incredibly introspective, and communicates a mood of intense isolation. Possibly even some form of hermetic seclusion. This theme of mysticism is carried over in the track titles, and their vague allusions to shamanism and tantrism. It's easy to see this music as some sort of spirit quest. A journey into a mental labyrinth.

Unlike many releases in the same genre this is a very dynamic album, which manages to stay interesting throughout. From the meditative Sacrificial King, to the noisy "drum and overdrive" of El Diablo Me Arronco La Lengua this album is never boring.

It's hard to say much more than that really. It's a well crafted album, both sonically and thematically and Critical Theatre is certainly on my watch list for the future.

1 Sacrificial King
2 The Burning Ritual
3 Yoni Verse
4 Freed High
5 El Diablo Me Arronco La Lengua
6 Untitled
7 7th level

USA, Self released CD-r, 2009

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