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Feersum Ennjin – Feersum Ennjin

Dissociated Press

I was originally going to try to write this review in the narrative voice of that Bascule dude from Iain M Banks‘ masterful science fiction novel of nearly the same name, but had a bit of a think about it and decided that a) I really couldn’t be arsed to do all that translating of my own stuff and b) nobody else would be arsed to read it. Which would have been a shame, because this album’s rather good and I’d like you to know why.

Feersum Ennjin is the eponymous first full-length album of Tool founder and onetime bassist Paul D’Amour, also of Lusk and Replicants. Since Tool cast such a bloody great shadow over all things prog-metal, industrial and awesome, let’s get the Tool stuff out of the way right at the start. There are things about this album that sound a lot like Tool – opener “Fishing Grounds,” for a start (literally, I guess what with being the opener and all) wears D’Amour’s musical history openly on its sleeve. But there’s a lot more to Feersum Ennjin than “what sounds a bit like Tool and what doesn’t.” Sure, they’ve got the crisp and bouncy yet brutal bass sound, but, y’know what? That was his to start with, so it’s only to be expected. And there’s a similar openness and space, with those bits that sound like metal being strapped to a chair and made to listen to King Crimson‘s In The Court Of The Crimson King on a hefty dose of DMT. And these are all good things, to be sure.

Some of the other comparisons are less to be expected – there are some wonderfully odd signature changes, which to some extent are also kind of King Crimson-tastic, but put me more in mind of The Dillinger Escape Plan at their most tuneful; except that DEP tend to pull the weird time changes in their LESS tuneful bits, so I’m not really sure what I’m getting at there, except that there’s a lot of really interesting shit going on with the rhythm section. Except the weirdest thing about this is much harder to explain than that. So bear with me, for this is where logic leaves the room. This is where the magic happens.

OK, it’s a truth universally acknowledged (by which I mean a thing said by me once by which I am sticking) that Ministry, from Psalm 69 onwards, have sounded, to varying degrees, like Slayer, if Slayer were giant fucking robots.

And on this album, particularly on the tracks “Safeway” and “The Dragon,” but pretty much spread across its length (and indeed girth – it’s VERY meaty, so to speak), Feersum Ennjin have a guitar onslaught that sounds like Ministry… if they WEREN’T giant fucking robots. But.. and this is the weird bit- they sound NOTHING LIKE SLAYER. Now, there are many forms of “not sounding like Slayer” that suck absolute balls. I’m sure you can think of several right now. I certainly can. In fact, I just did. And I wish I hadn’t. Some of those earwoms will take years of therapy to rid myself of.

But Feersum Ennjin’s way of “not sounding like Slayer” isn’t one of those. It’s a really, really good one. Indeed, listening to them now is taking the place of quite a lot of that therapy. Feersum Ennjin make a sound that’s not Slayer (and not Tool either), but sounds triumphal and simultaneously threatening in a way only previously quite managed by Faith No More at their most epic. Only with a much more psychedelic edge. Hard-edged nu-metal slams up against some beautiful prog breakdowns on tracks like “Solid Gold,” and by the time we hit “Hate The Sun” we’ve got some full-on mechanoid industrial drums plugging away like (for some reason) an enormous steam-powered stapler.

It’s kind of hard to describe, but I’m bloody glad I just decided to write it normally. You should try giving it a listen. Not only will you have a better idea of what the fuck I’m on about, it’s actually a splendid album.

-DEUTERONEMU 90210 in his normal voice-

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