Xela/Mgr - Split - 12" Vinyl

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12" Vinyl


If the sleeve is anything to go by, our John is currently restyling himself as the 'strawberry blonde' George Michael of noise (circa 'Jesus To A Child'), and accordingly, the music takes on a wholly more digestible aesthetic to the decayed, black metal influenced sounds that populated the recent cassette release on Digitalis. Heck, John's even restored a bit of low frequency presence since we last heard from him, resulting in a far more contoured, more evenly proportioned assault on the ears. The primitive analogue synth oscillations set the tone early on, underscoring the deluge of scuzz with a biting, penetrative edge, and some suggestion of an underlying contrapuntal sheen to offset all that muck. Quite unexpectedly, John cleans up his act altogether and introduces a network of harmonised, falsetto vocal layers, sailing through a euphoric freetime drum solo and disruptive synth tones only to arrive at something that sounds perversely ecclesiastical. This might well be the most unreservedly pretty din John's ever made - the escalating grandeur of the piece is definitely something new in the Xela repertoire, and that contrast between the cool, evenness of the vocal and the tumultuous backdrop works a treat. Isis guitarist Mike Gallagher assumes his MGR moniker on the flipside, laying down spooked post-metal textures on the darkly atmospheric 'Shipping Gold', setting crunched up guitar drones against brooding fingerpicking and shards of feedback. It takes a while before the piece reaches that point however, and the build-up is half the fun, pensively climbing towards a fearsome, monolithic crescendo. MGR's acoustic guitar lines might be likened to one of the clean, arpeggiated passages you'd hear on a Metallica album now and then (there's definitely a 'Nothing Else Matters' feel to a lot of this) but when Gallagher steps on the gas (or more pertinently, his distortion pedal) there's a far more contemporary, far gloomier kind of heaviness to his sound. Two great sides, one hilarious sleeve. You know what to do...
MGR - Shipping Gold
Recorded By - Alap Momin Written-By - M. Gallagher*
B Xela - Calling For Vanished Faces
Drums [Skinned By] - J. Bindeman* Performer [Bathed In Acid] - J.P. Twells*