Monday, 24 December 2012

Talis - G.L.O.T. (album review)

There's something about the organ that is so appropriate for horror, and therefore doom metal, that it's amazing that there's so relatively little of it in the genre of doom.  Sure, it's there, but not in the greatest of quantities.  I am a sucker for the stuff and take an immediate liking to any band that uses the organ.  German four-piece Talis play an organ driven style of doom that I can only call 'horror rock'.  The cover is as good a description of the music found within this four track EP as anything one might dream up about stormy nights in castles with weird hosts, etc.  Talis are the soundtrack to a specific mood where anything can happen because it's dark and you're alone.  Two essential ingredients for the disappearance of sanity.

Opening track "Lichtritter" begins with an almost psychedelic 60s vibe of lava lamps and door beads.  But before long one finds oneself on the dark side of a hippie cult, where they have become the sacrificial victim once the heavy metal guitar goes into full on doom mode.  It's an organ-driven gagged and bound march through a desecrated church.  If I had one criticism of the song, and indeed this entire EP as a whole, however, it's that it's over before you know it.  This is music to wallow in, to come up to your neck in and to sink and drown in.  After three and three quarters minutes the listener is waist deep as the song ends.  But there is more music ahead ...

"Night of the Dancing Witch" began life as an instrumental, like the other four songs here, but has recently had vocals recorded for it by Christina Poupoutsi of the UK electro metal band The Higher Craft.  Her occultish costumed performance style and persona are perfectly suited to the task.  She does a wonderful job, and gives a haunting performance.  The song stands on its own without vocals, with them however, the song is catapulted to the next level and it makes one appreciate just what a well-suited vocalist can do for a band.  It would be great to see her join the ranks of Talis on a more permanent basis but I'm assuming this was a one-off.

"The Slayer of Eriban" is an uptempo blast of manic ride, draconian organ and horror metal guitar and it being a longer track, I'm up to my neck by the end of it, sinking in organ driven doom.  The greater length of the song (seven-plus minutes) allows the band and the song itself some elbow room and the space needed to explore and expand upon its sonic grounds.  "Up the Hammers" has a very Ghost-like feel to it, within the organ and some odd time signatures.  This is the scene in the movie where our heroine must escape after finding a fresh body, but just when she needs her sure footing the most, she trips and falls just as the killer is about to reach her.  An underused technique in horror films to be sure.

Ultimately, Talis means business.  There is a definite singularity of vision to these four (plus one) songs.  This is lights out music, candles in the dark music.  I wonder what they would sound like with a Pete Steele type vocalist booming over these tracks.  With or without a vocalist, however, the music stands up.  Terrific organ driven metal, 'horror rock' at its finest.

Highlights include: "Night of the Dancing Witch" and "The Slayer of Eriban"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 21:06

From: Dresden, Germany

Genre: Doom Metal, Horror Doom, Instrumental

Reminds me of: Abysmal Grief, Blizaro, Ghost, Necronomicon, Paul Chain, Seremonia

Release Date: October 8, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: An organ is heard swelling up from somewhere in the church, the notes bouncing savagely down the corridors of the greystone structure.  A nun exclaims wretchedly as she loses her footing, the music getting louder.  Within seconds she's swept up off her feet and sucked down those selfsame corridors flailing backwards, her skirt flipped inside out like a cheap umbrella in a heavy wind.  Then the same happens to another, and another.  A priest leaves his rectory to see what the commotion is and is swept up instantly in the melee.  Before long, the church itself blossoms all at once with priests and nuns flying out of towers and stained glass windows like some Christian gusher and all that remains inside the church is the organ driven music of those playing who have their feet more firmly planted on the ground.

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