Sunday, 4 September 2011

Hallow's Victim You Are!



All the way back in '85, the brotherhood of doomed outlaws in Saint Vitus squinted into the incandescent swirling vortex of the blood-red Los Angeles' sun and sombrely exhaled their second full length for SST Records.  'Hallow's Victim' emerged from the sweet, intoxicating smelling clouds of smoke, like a schizoid Viking climbing out of a recently defrosted oildrum of barbarian-strength LSD.  Even putting aside the chemical goggles for a moment, it still stands as one of the sincerest statements of melancholically majestic musical intent ever conceived.  Guitarist and chief axe-wielding alchemist Dave Chandler was clearly reaching back through time to channel and manipulate the burnt out psyche's of the unholy trinity of Elder Gods (Iommi, Stephens and McAllister).  He weaves an improbably balanced tonal / atonal tapestry of fuzzed out leads that vacillate frantically in density between wistfully evocative snatches of sweetly sad melodies and eerie purple lightning flashes of pure psychedelic chaos.  The rest of the band backs him to the hilt with a brutally beautiful sparseness.  Percussionists!  Please, pay special attention to Armando Acosta's masterclass in minimalism on the drums..  Providing all the required impetus with unfussy, complimentary patterns that are direct and catchy..  Yet always striving to reflect and represent the ever-present emptiness that hovers nearby throughout the haunted entirety of the album.  Strangely up-tempo sounding at first..  For such a self-consciously downbeat bunch of unrepentant freaks and especially by today's 'ultra low to no' bpm bore-a-thon standards..  Fear ye not!  The tidal waves of doom shall engulf your inconsequential bones all the sooner..


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