Tuesday 11 June 2013

Art Of Burning Water - Love You Dead

As I get myself in order and find a true writing rhythm, I'm at the point where I'm attacking music hidden within my inbox. The first of those hidden gems is the eight track LP Love You Dead, from London noisemakers Art of Burning Water. The record was released on vinyl by AOBW member Kunal Nandi's label SuperFi Records as well on CD by Swarm of Nails. I remember coming across AOBW after reading a review of their 3-way spilt released with American Heritage and Foe, so god only knows why it's taken me so long to get round to writing about this record.

Tracklist :-

1. Hoglan
2. Oh My Days
3. Spiros Arion
4. Husker Du Happiness?
5. Only Choking
6. Tapdancing on Landmines
7. Whitman, Price and Haddad
8. Nicaragua

Art Of Burning Water sound frightening. Opening with Hoglan, they spit out a grind/sludge/metal amalgamation with vocals, which seems all over the place. I don't even know how to describe the screams! They're groovy though, with hints of stoner in their riffs. They prefer drawn-out instrumental passages, like at the start of Oh My Days. The drums and the bass contribute to a brutal low-end and the guitars aren't tuned much higher either. You won't find many screeching leads during these opening songs. You will find mind-bending time signatures and a band that just do their own thing.

The vocals sit very much in the middle of the mix, especially in songs like Spiros Arion, where the guitars seem quite atonal at times. There are hints of straight-up metal buried in their music though. AOBW seem to be as comfortable grooving as they do smashing you over the head with their crazed noise. They've also clearly got a sense of humour, if song-titles like Husker Du Happiness? and Only Choking are anything to go by. The former is a fifty-three second wall of grinding menace while the latter is equally as terrifying. It's almost as if they split one song into two here, because they were scared that it would have been too much for people. As that huge breakdown appears towards the end, all I can do is grin from ear to ear!

So far, so quick! With the exception of Oh My Days, no song has broken through the three-minute mark. Tapdancing on Landmines keeps the pace fast and fraught. The subtle textures that you can pick on multiple listens will surely keep you coming back to this record. It's only when Whitman, Price and Haddad ring’s out that things start to slow down. The riffs are bruising and sludgy as hell. It's definitely one of the most punishing numbers on Love You Dead, proving that you don't necessarily needs grinding madness and hard-to-pin-down time signatures to make your listeners head fall off.

As Nicaragua begins, you feel like the preceding songs have been but a mere build up to what is the final hammer blow, all eleven minutes of it! The chugging riffs and powerful drums provide a build up, which seems like the calm before the storm. Occasional glimpses of sick sludge-influenced jazz guitar peeps through before what can only be described as utter chaos. There may be more of a focus on the instrumentation on Love you Dead, but when it's this powerful why spoil it. The vocals add to the maddening intensity and that feedback six-minutes in will have cowering on the ground. The feeling of brief calm lasts but seconds before another thick, tar like passage fills your ears, as the song lurches it's way to an inevitable end.

You can shove whatever genre terms you want into a review, but you will never come close to describing fully what AOBW sound like. I'm just going to settle on the term mind-blowing.

Do not do what I did. Don't let Art Of Burning Water pass you by. Listen to the whole of Love You Dead as well the rest of their discography on their bandcamp page below:-

There is a download link on the above page for this album, but if you like physical copies, head to the following placed to pick up either a CD copy or a vinyl one:-

SuperFi Records - http://www.superfirecords.co.uk/releasespresent.html
Swarm of Nails - http://swarmofnails.limitedrun.com/

Art Of Burning Water Blog - http://aobw.blogspot.com
Art Of Burning Water Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Art-of-burning-water

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