Rangda - Formerly Extinct

by Andy Brown Rating:9 Release Date:2012-09-17

When Rangda released their awe-inspiring debut album False Flag back in 2010, the combination of Sir Richard Bishop, Ben Chasny and Chris Corsano made thrilling sense. After all, here were three experienced and hugely talented musicians who shared a certain amount of common ground. It wasn't hard to imagine how Chasny's psychedelic folk, usually deployed under the Six Organs of Admittance moniker, would sound next to Bishops middle-eastern-influenced guitar licks and how Corsano's impressive percussion could tie the whole thing together. False Flag delivered on this promise and would become one of the year's most enthralling releases.

Formerly Extinct certainly has a lot to live up to but delivers the goods in reliably impressive style. With musicians of this calibre, it's fair to say that you're in safe hands. The album opens with the limber and muscular 'Idol's Eye', the band immediately locking into a tight and irresistibly hypnotic groove. Second track 'The Vault' opens with abrasive, cascading guitars and leads into one of Chasny's most breath-taking solos. In many ways, Formerly Extinct is a sleeker, sexier record than their debut; there's certainly nothing as disorientating or as sonically confrontational as 'Fist Family' on here.

The album flows together seamlessly and makes the most of its relatively modest running time (around 40 minutes overall). 'Silver Nile' is just over 11 minutes of slowly building atmosphere and shows the band at their most seductively meditative. 'Plucked Nickel' has a repetitive, freight-train momentum and is just about as much excitement as anyone could be reasonably expected to pack into a recording. Make no mistake, Formerly Extinct isn't just a record to admire; it's a record to get very excited about.

'Majnun' brings in more of Bishop's distinctive eastern vibes, while 'Goodbye Mr Gentry' contains some of the most beautiful guitar playing you're likely to hear all year. The performances on each track are exceptional and Jason Meagher and Patrick Klem have done a fine job of bringing the band's live energy to each piece. While False Flag wound up with the 15 minutes of slow-burning, mystical beauty which make up 'Plain of Jars', this album skips to the finish with two shorter tracks. The concise and controlled delights of 'Tres Hambres' and the undeniably invigorating 'Night Porter' wrap up proceedings perfectly.

Richard Bishop, Ben Chasny and Chris Corsano have already produced a whole heap of impressive records under different names, which makes the freshness and vitality of this record all the more admirable. For all the ways Formerly Extinct reminds me of their other ventures (Sun City Girls, Six Organs of Admittance and Flower/Corsano Duo), it's clear that it couldn't be anyone but the irrepressible Rangda.

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