WaxWorm present some interesting music and concepts on their thirteen-years-in-the-making new album, Mea Kulpa.
Essentially the result of a long-term but sporadic collaboration between Australian Arthur Brown and former A Forest of Stars Englishman Duncan Evans, the record seeks to create a ‘heaviness’ of sound without resorting to such prosaic weapons of war as amplified electric guitars. Through a mixture of soundscapes and more ‘normal’ songs, many named after alchemical ideas and concepts – opening track Mutus Liber is named for a seventeenth century alchemists’ handbook of some renown, for instance, the pair create a sonic otherworld all their own over the course of seven by turns unsettling and beguiling pieces.
The term ‘industrial’ doesn’t really do this music justice, conjuring up as it does the churning mechanical sturm und drang associated with that genre. Eschaton, for instance, with it’s basic drum machine patterns and jaunty keys, actually made your humble interlocutor think of seventies sitcom theme tunes as filtered through the mind of madcap Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys rather than the end times, but the music’s reliance on the electronic as opposed to the organic does have a relationship of sorts with the ‘industrial’ tag. That opening track, with it’s brooding, misanthropic opening and doom-laden vocal actually has more in common with British mavericks Massive Attack than it does with Fear Factory, and that lack of real blood n’guts here may be a problem for some of Sentinel Daily’s more rigid readers.
The crackling electronics of Rosarius sees the duo at their most straightforward, or, indeed, their most industrial; at least in the sense that you could easily see this near-eleven minute epic of sparse keys, muted percussive pulses and impassioned, nerve-wracked vocals appearing on a latter-day Gary Numan album. It’s compelling, if bleak, stuff, and you can’t drag your ears away from it.
Pick of the bunch is the impressive Raptus, which actually brings to mind some of Evans’ work on his excellent Lodestone solo album of a few years back; as the track develops it explodes into a trenchcoated uber-anthem reminiscent of Talk Talk and Depeche Mode at their most bereft; an extraordinary song by any stretch of the imagination, it demonstrates with stark beauty the astonishing potential that WaxWorm possess; Let’s hope they can develop this partnership further, and that it doesn’t take another thirteen years for them to present the next phase of the WaxWorm story…
Mea Kulpa releases on July 23rd.