Throughout Soused , Walker's remarkable, elliptical lyrics have the broken meter and layers of imagery of the modernist poet.
How is that guitar tone? It is actually slightly less present than the torrent of previous recordings; smoothed over, burnished to a black shine by Walker and co-producer Peter Walsh, under the musical direction of Mark Warman.
But the foreboding spirit of the sound-bed on 'Brando', punctuated by Walsh's lashing whip-cracks and a strange slide whistle effect, speaks to the core of the Sunn O enterprise.
The former pop star fled the fame of the Walker brothers to a monastery to study Gregorian chant. He understands the power of these profound, Earth-shaking shifts.
They exude Dread and Fear. These ancient creatures are drowning in the bubbling tar pits of Soused 's cover imagery. Like the dinosaurs on the edge of the precipice in Seldon Hunt's very OTT liner notes to The Grimmrobe Demos , they are "something darker than possibility". There's something new going on here too. The synth pulsing underneath not unlike that underpinning 'Face On Breast' from Tilt imbues it with the throbbing energy of Cliff Martinez's soundtracks to Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive and Only God Forgives , work in turn that follows the soundtrack work of John Carpenter in his prime.
Assault On Precinct 13 - the barbarians are at the gates. The same barbarians that gate-crashed "BAR! Here Walker trades more excessively in recurring motifs, the archetypes, which make this more immediate and accessible than that album, more so, in fact, than most of the work of Sunn O.
The guitars supply sonic cement as the songs cohere satisfactorily, returning to lyrical themes and musical motifs. It works because Sunn O and Scott Walker share the primitive 'big dream', delineating what psychoanalyst Carl Jung described as "an ancestral heritage of possibilities of representation" where "civilised man is not yet entirely free of the darkness of primeval times".
On that track he invokes the pagan landscape of Wan's Dyke, otherwise known as Woden's Dyke, a Roman earthwork slicing west through Wiltshire for sixty miles towards the Bristol Channel. He explained: "One of the reasons why heavy metal occasionally sounds like religious music is because religious music is inherited from heathen times, and so when you reduce music to its lowest common denominator it goes down to those modes that were most useful to the ancient people. This might sound overdone but we live in a time when an enigmatic tribe is forced to retreat to a mountain, fleeing an ideological savagery that shocks our sense of reality anew.
How are we meant to interpret these times? What tools do we have? Though it makes reference to the Stasi, second track 'Herod ' reaches back further in history and holds a mirror up to the present. When people are being beheaded in the ancient landscape of the Middle East by terrorists, 21st Century barbarians, 'Herod ''s interpretation of the biblical massacre of the innocents is no historical fiction, but a present tragedy.
It has become a nightmare made real. The moon shines "bright pain" on their faces, as the tension tightens and tightens. It's almost unbearable and the interludes that promise respite only emphasise this dread. This is the closest Walker comes to incantation, repeated refrains in the fissures of the tectonic plates: "I'm closing in.
Walker's use of motifs analogous and directly taken from mythology creates what Jung called "the deposits of the constantly repeated experiences of humanity".
Humanity: doomed to repeat its mistakes. And this track with its clattering drums has sonic equivalence with David Bowie's last album, and the industrial tint of his mid-nineties work, his collaboration with Trent Reznor and 'I'm Deranged' from Lost Highway.
Soused is the nearest twenty-first century equivalent to that partnership. Bowie's admiration for Walker is well known. The song relents to the drone once again but it takes on a different function, its use becoming less extreme, less bold, as a Sabbathian bell tolls in the distance — it fades to a conclusion. This subtler style is picked up again in the sheet metal grind and horn of 'Fetish'; the stabs of Guy Barker's trumpet enacting "Red, blade points" that "knife the air".
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Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file. Download as PDF Printable version. Avant-garde , experimental rock , art rock , drone metal. Soused begins with "Brando", a searing piece that immediately sets the limit for which the patience of the listener will be consensually tested over the course of the record.
Various off-beat sounds open the track - a Slash-y guitar stinger here, a whip crack there, before the first gargantuan drone burns like molten tarmac through the speakers.
Scott's wet croon is as gorgeous and ectopic as ever as he moans amidst growling guitar feedback, and you can sense he's instantly at ease coated in corrosive electric dew by Messrs Anderson and SOMA.
And those whip cracks can really eat you up, too, if you ain't careful, especially considering the fact that they are the beat It's got a spooky Latin chant, an endless "keep movin' on" mantra from Walker and torrid musical witchery from thee robed ones - naturally.
It was this track that initially convinced me of the potency of the project, primarily because I kept skipping back a track whenever it finished, to start the whole process of cathartic conflagration all over again. The final two compositions are "Fetish" and "Lullaby".
The former is a dense, crashing sonic excursion complete with unbearable tension and heart-stopping riffs.