Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Big Drum in the Sky Religion-Hell Hath No Fury; 3 CD-r set; Beard of Snails Records, 2013

Disaster Amnesiac completely understands why these three separate releases from The Big Drum in the Sky Religion have been packaged into one deluxe package from Beard of Snails. Each of them features this big, bombastic drone, under which different instrumental or Musique Concrete passages reside. A bit more on the latter shortly. First, I'd like to describe the former a bit, seeing as it is such a vital element to all three discs.

The best way that Disaster Amnesiac can describe the central drone that runs across all of the well over three hours of music on Hell Hath No Fury is to compare it with that of Metal Machine Music, in that it has the same high end, ultra-treble-ey ping. Within that densely layered wall of sound reside all kinds of micro-tones and high end frequency whorls. As I've listened, it has brought up images of mighty rivers, clanging junkyard action, windy mountain peaks, humans screaming and crying, and tornadoes, just to list a few. For those that love to listen to these types of massive drones, the appeal seems to reside within the endless variations of sound that can be heard within the ostensible chaos. The Big Drum in the Sky Religion has presented a masterful example of such a drone herein.
Now, for the component parts of the release:

Hymn to the Beast With Two Backs-this one is the most traditional of the trilogy, featuring guitar and drums dueling it out for most of its over 70 minutes' duration. Breaking up the scrawl is one floaty, almost ambient passage, after which the cathartic pounding continues, eventually leading to some plaintive banjo strumming. This one is like a Metal Machine Music dance mix.

Rangda Electric-here we find the overall drone paired with Indonesian-sounding bells and what sounds like chanting. Disaster Amnesiac wonders if these are recording made by the principle artist of  The Big Drum in the Sky Religion, or older field recordings from an LP? Rangda runs continuously for over an hour before ending with yet another banjo piece.

Vodou Chile-simultaneously my favorite disc of the release and the biggest disappointment for me. Disappointing because my copy has a skip that just won't go away, no matter the cleaning solution used. Favorite because of its percussive, almost steel drum sounding banjo and cutting electric guitar caterwaul. The banjo achieves Doc Boggs levels of mountain primitive underneath the pervasive drone. Disaster Amnesiac just wishes that he could get to the end of this ceremony!

The Big Drum in the Sky Religion has been shamanizing in and around Harrisonburg, VA for many moons now. There are many recordings available, and for free to boot, at their web page. Anyone who enjoys long drones or noise would do well to avail themselves of a few of their rituals.

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