Sangre Cavallum - Veleno De Texixo [Ahnstern - 2008]Veleno De Texixo is this Portuguese collectives second full length release for the Austrian Ahnstern lable. It delivers an often bombastic, epic and strange mix of traditional Portuguese music, folk-rock, prog, field recordings and the avant garde.
The albums title Vilene De Texixo (Yews Poison) comes from the ritual deaths that the Callaecain women took part in stone age northern Portugal, when their tribe was defeated in battle. The album takes in over an hour of music, that for most of it’s playing time is very upbeat and dense mixing all manner of tradional stringed and wind instrumentation, with standard acoustic/electric guitars, bass synths. And lots and lots of war like drums work, and rebel rousing and at times almost lite operatic Portuguese vocals from new lead singer Emanuel Melo da Cunha.
This album seems much more epic, muilt-levelled and on the whole a more rewarding than there first album, and as expected with anything on the wonderful Ahnstern label it jumps all over the place both in musically genres, surprising sonic elements and emotional content. There is also a slightly darker and nasty edge present here too- having a nice slicing metallic guitar tone popping up here and there along the way, and the odd dip into darker murky ambient smeared waters too.
The album cover picture is suitable strange and a little sinister- it's of a person type mass set against misty countryside, with the fold out digipakpack showing pictures of the band in their creepy wicker man like wooden masks. The abum also comes with a sixteen page colour booklet detailing the albums concept and a selection of woodland, ancient statures & murky psychedelic collages.
It's an album that’s an heady stew of the ancient, earthy and strange- that’s dense, epic and at times very puzzling, but always entertaining and more often than not a real sensory overload. Roger Batty