Birushanah – Akai Yami – 4/5
Curious as to whether to include this artist, relenting in the decision that ‘Sludge’ seems the most appropriate fit; this is an artist that can be experimental if nothing else. Combining no shortage of traditional Japanese instruments in their lavish chaotic sound, the bare essential for the genre are all here. The frantic high pitched cries of the vocalist, the maniac let loose on the drums and the dual bass and guitar harmonies, often overshadowed by the percussion.
Built around two tracks monolithic in length, we see the slow rise in tension and pace resulting in the inevitable crescendo, like slowly cycling to the top of a hill only to completely lose control in a fit of chaos as you roll down the other side. In an unusual change in style, more often that not it is the bass keeping the pace – not the drums; laying down the thick backing he can often become lost in the more chaotic sections, readily laying down a sustainable slow rhythm for the slow rise in tension. This is frequently worked in harmony with the guitars, laying a similar style of riff or short interludes, working around the bass work adding short snippets of inspiration though are often the least prominent aspect here.
Instead it is the combination of drums and percussion that seems to be most notable in this line up; the drums at no point merely performing a generic beat, constantly varying yet maintaining that consistent tempo, more creative than overtly passive or aggressive. The percussion too is – if anything, too – prominent in the line up, adding a unique oriental-folk-like twist to the proceedings. The rasped vocals whilst many will likely find annoying fit perfectly, contrasting with the slower more meandering passages and in keeping with the hard hitting doom-tone clung to throughout.
It is not merely the unconventionality of their sound (make no mistake about it, there is literally nothing like this that I have heard before) that results in drawing the attention, but it’s the slow build-up in pace, the constant flow of aggression as each aspect slowly becomes more frantic. You can hear the chaos on the horizon, but it often takes far too long to emerge. Many of the riffs, as intriguing as they are, get tiring well before the tracks conclusion. The dissonant rhythms that occur in the title track around 8min 30, and in ‘Kairai’ at about 17mins, by far were more impressive than much of the rest of the track. Nonetheless, this is a bizarre spectacle into the oriental side of sludge, and I simply hope they push that aspect even further in subsequent releases.
Birushanah - Touta [EP]
So I got my hands on their EP in case anyone was interested in more by this artist. Doesn't feel as strong or chaotic as the full length, but for the most part delivers on some more weirdass music. Production is as good, and the two tracks are shorter than most the stuff on the full length.