JOHN 3:16 - The Burnt Tower/Babylon The Great - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

JOHN 3:16 - The Burnt Tower/Babylon The Great

by Steve Rhodes Rating:8 Release Date:2016-03-23

The moniker of Philadelphia resident Phillipe Gerber, John 3:16 has been active in his solo adventures since the break-up of former band Heat From A DeadStar at the end of the last decade, exploring psychedelia, post-rock, shoegaze, electronica, all centring around biblical themes, hardly surprising given the choice of artist denomination. The two-track release The Burnt Tower/Babylon The Great continues this theme but takes a heavier drone and post-metal stance, moving away from the 90s coffee table Gregorian chant chart-botherers Enigma being purged slowly by Sigur Ros and Godspeed You! Black Emperor of his debut album Visions of The Hereafter – Visions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, into a territory far more sinister and unsettling, but still utterly hypnotic and rewarding.

Lead track 'The Burnt Tower' is deep and atmospheric, opening with ripples of decaying guitar drone and minor-key choral synths, then stopping and restarting with percussion, oriental-tinged guitars and distorted guitars that feel fractious and on constant edge, as if anticipating expectant doom. The track then delivers on its promise, opening out with the drone ante is upped to eleven, reflecting the infernal section of Mogwai's My Father My King, before returning to its starting point. An intriguing track that feels akin to Roy Montgomery or Spectres.

Cheer and lightness are far from apparent too on 'Babylon The Great' as the foreboding mood remains, with percussion appearing early and guitars and politely-haunting synths introduced at regular intervals and layered on this doom-laden number. The track is in a constant state of building, culminating at its bleak apex that more than hints of the death throes of The Cure's One Hundred Years before evaporating into repeating electronic samples, that retain the eerie ambiance of the rest of the record.

An undeniably claustrophobic and uncompromising record, The Burnt Tower/Babylon The Great is an excellent and compelling release and a perfect companion for bedtime listening on the eve of the oncoming of Armageddon.

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