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Evil Blizzard/Mamuthones
Collisions Vol. 4 Nick Hutchings , February 5th, 2015 13:42

Collisions Vol. 4 is a pustulous split LP oozing forth two bands who love horror and like to drone on about it. With a soupcon of Suspiria and a ghost in the machine from The Exorcist the music of Evil Blizzard is not so much Tubular Bells as crepuscular bells. It's route one horror, which may require a defibrillator to revive you from. However, the subtler, no less effective gory grooves of Mamuthones owe more to the repetitive danceability of Warp Records' Sweet Exorcist than they do to traditional head-spinning horror scores.

This is the fourth in a series of recorded collisions between lauded, like-minded and loud spirits on Rocket Records, joining previous malevolent match-ups between Gnod and Shit & Shine, Oneida and Mugstar and The Heads and White Hills, and this is no less fearsome or feral.

Mamuthones have carved out a position at the head of a fecund Italian occult psychedelic movement, led by Alessio Gastaldello ex of Sub Pop band Jennifer Gentile. Apparently the name Mamuthones comes from a Sardinian death-masked legend about which no historian can agree. Locals dressed as these totemic figures perform haunting ritual dances at public festivals. One theory is it's a celebration to celebrate the victory of shepherds against the Saracen invaders who imprisoned the citizens of Mamoiada and led them to a cold chamber. If that is spine chilling, the music is less so as their music is warm blooded and organic rather than murderously orgiastic.

On Collisions Vol. 4 Mamuthones use of sinister spoken vignettes recall skin-creeping sound bites from Pleasure Death era Therapy? and the use of fire and brimstone Pentecostal testimony in the songs 'The Holy Ghost People' and 'I've Gotta Be' suggest this would fit neatly in the tape machine of Nick Cave's Jaguar, allowing him to get down among the South Downs. These spiritual sound recordings were liberated from the 1967 documentary Holy Ghost People directed by Peter Adair about a snake handling church ceremony in a tiny mining town called Scrabble Creek in West Virginia.

'I've Gotta Be' is their boa-necklaced genuflexion to 'My Life In The Bush With Ghosts' by Byrne and Eno, but there's also a slightly more viscous Liquid Liquid in the mix, while the circular sonic swathes have me swaying unquestionably in a way not experienced since worshipping at the temple of Terminal Cheesecake. 'Don't Be Choosy' features a Suicide style keyboard squall which also sounds like the sax on X-Ray Spex's 'Oh Bondage Up Yours' being sucked into an industrial strength vacuum cleaner, or a long lost outtake from Infotainment Scan by The Fall. 'Fire On Fire' is reminiscent of the lopsided lament of Residents' recently reissued 'Santa Dog'. 'Holy Ghost People' speaks in tongues last heard on Goat's Commune.

As a whole, the side of Collisions Vol. 4 inhabited by Mamuthones is funky, atmospheric and retro-kitsch. Much more obvious is the splatter gore snow-maggeddon brought by Preston's Evil Blizzard. Of course while playing live they wear masks so creepy they make Slipknot look like an advert for Smiffy's joke shop. Four bassists play a clanging clamour so loud that it makes you feel like you're using your palm to prevent puke on a lurching longboat to oblivion, or at least up a fecal creek without a paddle. Especially as the vocals are chanted from aft by singing drummer Mark Whiteside, like the creepiest of coxswains.

The newly coined but now ubiquitous meteorological term weatherbomb could have been made for Evil Blizzard. Maybe it's the near constant rain in the Pennines, or the nearby Pendle Witch trail, but there's something as bewitchingly and ritualistically English as the Wicker Man While not playing they might be found plumbing, but double-check your pipes don't run down to the netherworld. If the two professions may seem at odds, it was the fabled contrarian Mark E. Smith that propelled Evil Blizzard to more notoriety by hand-picking them to support The Fall, while that other exponent of obnoxiously loud bass and opinion John Robb of The Membranes issued their first record. And given the re-working their live lynchpin 'Sacrifice' contained here, it's no surprise.

Its guttural growl is not enlightening, but enchanting. This is uneasy listening made even more unsettling by the remix that follows by London label mates Teeth Of The Sea. They cheekily call it an "offering" but it's more like a devilish deconstruction of the calling card of the new demagogues of doom that wouldn't seem out of place on Mogwai's soundtrack to Les Revenants. Nerve jangling, teeth-jarring and coccyx quaking, this record is both collision and détente between Anglo-Italian kindred spirits and one that won't be easily exorcised from my memory.

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