Album Review

Vampillia – “Alchemic Heart” – [Important Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/24/2013   A Library, CD

2011 release featuring a sort of Japanese punk chamber orchestra
with special friends. Two of those are huge names in the devil’s
jukebox, Jarboe featured on track 1 and Merzbow on track 2. Inswarm
also assists. The two lengthy tracks are “Sea” and “Land” whether a
nod to Paul Revere, or Negativland or the elements I’m not sure. This
does seem to be aimed at the Godspeed-freaks. Rising dynamics and
that chamber vibe, guitar soft-pedal-ing shadows and Jarboe opening
her wallet to find blood pouring out; breathing in the dark arcane
and breathing out pure peace. If you take away the sounds, and the
Jarboe-ness, it could almost be a new age self help book on tape.
But that ol’ Jarboe-ness makes me almost believe it’s a real arrow
piercing her flesh. At 11:30 in, the “Sea” gets a little rockier
(perhaps it is Inswarm dropping the power chord monoliths). Violins
start to do more than weep, and does Jarboe turn into a shivering
tantric priestess. Waves of sound thicken and overlap, until a
quiet piano requiem and a breath-defying benediction from J-boe.
Next we move to “Land” mixed and fritzed by Merzbow. He peppers
EMP detritus over the barren landscape of cello + violin. Piano balms
the noise bombs. Tantric tranny priestess returns? Plodden sadness,
keep those schoolgirls away from the railway tracks. “Land” is
chaotic enough, one could add sonic ingredients and perplex/please
the listeners with a one-off wonder. Have fun.
Thurston Hunger

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