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Ultraphallus – Sowberry Hagan

Riot Season

Ultraphallus – Sowberry Hagan

Serious noise rock from Belgium, the third album from Ultraphallus and their UK début on Riot Season. Where do I start? With a name like Ultraphallus am I serious? And what a name it is! Its the mother of all names to trip up spam filters. Sowberry Hagan was recorded over four days in a farm in Liege, but you wouldn’t guess at such folkish origins. And if you did you’d be in for a surprise. Sowberry Hagan is an evil slab of shoegazing, sludgy malevolent doom and claustrophobic heavy rock. This is a nasty album, and I mean that in a good way. It’s evil white noise to scare the crap out of the unwary. And, of course, I mean that in a good way too. Its feverish, ramshackle and as unpolished as they come. Sowberry Hagan was made with what Ultraphallus had to hand which was noise, guitars, noise, saxophones – and a banjo. When they bring out the saxophones behind an impenetrable mist of white noise things momentarily go very Trout Mask Replica, adding a mad dash of wailing sax and feedback to augment Ultraphallus’ bone crushing rock..

The last tracks, “The Red Print” and “Torches of Freedom,” turn in more of a drone direction, unleashing the dark ambiance that the earlier tracks hinted at/threatened with Oxbow‘s Eugene Robinson‘s intense vocals adding to the suffocating claustrophobia. It’s great; catharsis at the end of insanity. “The Red Print” sounds like that very specific moment when you know that the fever has left your body and all you feel is exhaustion and relief. One for lovers of Sunn O))), Melvins, Nadja and Deliverance. Nasty, nasty, nasty and fantastic.

-Alaric-

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