Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Veracrash - My Brother The Godhead (album review)

"'My Brother The Godhead' is an excellent compilation album from 11 different bands of varying genres that ...

"What's that?  This isn't a compilation?  This is an album by all the same band? ...

"Are you sure?

"Well, then ... that changes everything.  Let's start again from the beginning."


Like a hundred headed hindu god Veracrash have many faces on rotation.  They appear to hedonistically obey their every musical impulse from the suffocatingly heavy opener "Lucy, Lucifer" to the laid back strumming and maracas shaking closer "_", finding expression for all points in between.  There is more of a multiple personalities feel to this, their second album, than on their first, '11:11', which was much more of a straightforward heavy psych record.  Taking the basic ingredients of stoner rock, doom, sludge, heavy psych and throwing song structure in a blender, what comes out of the mix is 'My Brother The Godhead'.  One thing the band can't be accused of is sticking to a formula.

'My Brother The Godhead' is one hell of an epic trip.  Science fiction meets conspiracy theory and paranoid feelings in a fuzzy package with an assist from Dango of Truckfighters on production duties.

High wailing vocals and fuzzy guitar with droning bass characterize the memorable opening track "Lucy, Lucifer".  Veracrash detour through the scenic route of psychedelia as the song goes where it wants to.  Who's driving the car?  The band is a dissociative identity disorder on record.  One could imagine their songs as shuffling aimlessly through endless corridors in a loose hospital gown, dazed and confused, with little to no attention span where every little thing that sticks out becomes momentarily fascinating and is quickly forgotten.  "Kali Maa" is a straight-up blast of fuzzy stoner rock, title track "My Brother The Godhead" is a droney and mournful slice of ambient pie.  "A Blowjob From Yaldabaoth" is an uptempo stoner freakout that gears right down into doom halfway through, never again returning to stoner territory, and featuring news clips from 911.  And that's just the first 15 minutes.  It's as though the band are possessed.  Their hands play what they play, the songs go where they go and the band simply obeys the songs' every whim.  The inmates run the asylum.

"Obey the Void" asks the question, "What do you see / Underneath the real".  By the time "Obey the Void" wafts across the speakers, vocalist Francesco's very Ozzy-like delivery in the first couple tracks ("LOO-SAY ... Lucifer!") is a distant memory and he goes from a brutal crust-punk delivery style to an almost 80s indie / goth rock low tone in this one song alone and ... it's just a head trip.

For that reason alone, Veracrash are among the most psychedelic bands out there today.  All is mercurial and one can never quite get settled in.  Forget the days of flowers and beads, Veracrash's version of psychedelia will have the listener grasping for the wooden stakes and pitchforks.

I don't know whether I want to call the songwriting on 'My Brother The Godhead' a virtuosic performance or a schitzophrenic one, so I'll just say the album makes a very strong impression.  In its purest form the psychedelic music genre takes the listener on a trip and that's the least of what Veracrash do here.  For the most part they seem to do away with song structure altogether, establishing strong verse / chorus openers, then abandoning them altogether as they discover new paths along the way and with a shrug, guide the listener haphazardly off the beaten trails.  It's an unlicensed guided tour through every underground hard rock and metal genre you can name that embraces the use of the fuzzbox.  In the end, somewhere beneath all the noise and beauty and brutality is a strong identity and taken as a whole, it's a solid album that cruises along nicely, albeit bumpily.

Highlights include: "Kali Maa" and "Lucy, Lucifer"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 39:14

From: Milan, Italy

Genre: Rock, Psychedelic, Metal, Desert Rock, Stoner

Reminds me of: Black Space Riders, From Beyond, Ozzy Osbourne

Release Date: December 12, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: All is eerily quiet.  So silent you can hear the rush of blood in your own ears.  The sound of hurriedly shuffling footsteps pipes in from the other end of the tunnel.  You do a quick shoulder check then decide you don't want to know what's coming behind you.  You walk, hurriedly, bouncingly and your gait turns into a gallop.  There's light ahead at the end of the tunnel and a warm sense of welcoming feelings awaits on the other side. That's when the paranoia floods your system, jacked up on doubt and second guesses.  Beware the deceiver.  You stop.  You turn.  You stand your ground.  You start towards the footsteps and decide it's time to face your invisible tormentor.

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