Religious Knives - The Door [Ecstatic Peace! - 2008]Oddly enough, the Door sounds a lot like a slightly more esoteric (and motorik) version on the Doors over at least half of its running time. Is the title supposed to be indicative of the direction they're headed? One would assume so. Despite the prominent use of Manzarek-esque keyboard fills (albeit not as obtrusive as Ray's), there's remnants of everything from Neu! to Suicide, maybe even early Royal Trux worked into these bad trip jams.
The disc starts off with the almost poppy Downstairs, which very nearly lost me due to Michael Bernstein's vocals, which didn't thrill me at first. He takes a stab at using the vox as an instrument, and while that isn't a bad idea for those with the agility and deftness of touch for such things, Bernstein comes off as a bit self conscious and stiff. Having said that, the insistent, blocky riff is drilled into your head to such a point that it'll either win you over (because it is catchy) or have you pressing the skip button in haste. I found it enjoyable, overcoming my reticence to move on.
The rest of the disc continues with roughly the same modus operandi, that is, simple, mechanical jams, with a heaping of subtle feedback noise. There are some variations in the vocals, the most obvious being the fact that Maya Miller also provides vocals. Her vocals have a rough, unfinished sound which dovetail nicely with some of the more demented tracks, particularly Major Score, a dread laden, creepy rant, which may just be the high point of this album.
The Door certainly isn't bound to blow away most folks. It's not a revolutionary work. But it is worth hearing. In fact, the band's preference for repetition, to an almost tribal degree, and with a minimal framework, is what sets them apart. They take a simple approach, letting the music speak for itself. It's a nice change of pace, making for a pleasant half hour of listening. Erwin Michelfelder