The Skull Defekts - Peer Amid - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Skull Defekts - Peer Amid

by Andy Brown Rating:9 Release Date:2011-02-22

The Skull Defekts are an experimental Swedish noise-rock outfit that first formed in 2005; its members have been affiliated with numerous underground groups over the years and their sound has developed with time into something utterly unique and skull-crushingly intense. Peer Amid sees the Defekts joined by Lungfish vocalist Daniel Higgs and his distinctive vocals, in many ways, define much of this fantastic record.

The album opens with the monstrous nine-minute title track 'Peer Amid', coming on like Shellac in a distinctly strange mood. There's the apocalyptic rumble of its insistent bassline and flashes of distortion heavy guitars spiralling out of control as they creepily intone, "Heart and mind, deaths insane, streams of time, flow nowhere". It's a powerful piece of music and an incredible opening statement. Second track 'No More Always' sounds a bit like Queens of the Stone Age at their finest with its tight rhythmic guitars and sneered vocals: "Nobody, nothing, nowhere, no more". There's an exhilarating sense of urgency running through Peer Amid; it's a record that grabs you from the first second and doesn't let go.

'Gospel of the Skull' is all drones and hypnotic guitars as Higgs sings, shaman-like through the noise, "Do you hear that sound? The sound in your skull…" He sounds like a man possessed. 'The Silver River' slows things down with steady drones, minimal soundscapes and spooky, ethereal voices. Next up we get 'In Majestic Drag' which starts with tribal drums and floating, space-age noises before a thunderous guitar comes in and it ends up sounding like The Birthday Party filtered through the dusty-desert blues of Tinariwen. It's incredible.

'Fragrant Nimbus' starts with Higgs telling us, "It is my duty to inform you there has been a situation or shall I say a particular and delicate orientation… Your immediate and focussed attention is requested…" The track ends with a wind-tunnel of drones, moans and crashing guitars; The Skull Defekts are racking up the tension now. 'What Knives, What Birds' starts with somewhat terrifying noises and yelps before the muscular rhythm section come in and it's like party music for doom-rock fans. An exercise in an almost ritualistic use of repetition, 'What Knives, What Birds' will push you to the edge of yr musical sanity along with the rest of this bizarre and intensely brilliant album.

Closing statement 'Join the True' is a rallying call to all those with defekts in their skulls as they calmly intone, "Join the true, easy to do, be as one who passes through". It's a creepy yet commanding track that carries a kind of musical authority which seems to come naturally to The Skull Defekts.

Peer Amid is the finest, challenging rock record to come out of the underground since Queens of the Stone Age released Rated R. While it's doubtful they will get the same kind of exposure, The Skull Defekts should certainly gain some more fans with this record. It's a heavy and truly psychedelic listen and one of the year's best albums so far.

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