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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Merzbow - Metamorphism [Very Friendly - 2006]

I was excited for two reason about this. Firstly it was going to be released by Uk based label Very Friendly, who’s  only other Merzbow release had been excellent Cycle from 2003.secondly the Packaging, I have to admit  and say I’m somewhat of a geeky collector, when it comes to odd and different Packaging, and this sure is that. The cd comes in screen printed Hessian bag, which comes inside a nicely heavy cd sized marble box with a fossilised Ammonite engrave on the front, really impressive stuff.

So we’ve talked about the wow factor of the packing- the main question is do the sound’s on the disk stand up to the impressive packing and equal  the quality of Cycle?. Well Yes and  no really- the sound art is not as impressive or mould breaking as the title may suggest. That's not to say it’s not good or satisfying, it certainly is- but there’s not much offered here, that long time Merz devotes haven’t heard before, so don’t expect a sound revelation or  great deviation. his stand as a good to great, accomplished album, but not a masterpiece.

Things start off subdued with Metamorphism part one, a few minutes off kilter wind swept guitar work opens the track,  like strange kind rudimentary country blues. Before a boiling noise kicks in, with the guitar motif still going on for a minute longer before. The sounds starts to explode into burning electronics ,twisted ,buckled and ultra distorted guitar tones. Which come in waves, building up banks of pulsing- deep though to scream pitches of sound. The background eventually settles in with a low buzzing loop, with which Merzbow bends and clatters with guitar scuttling and noise burst's. Things seem to settle at a platter, with pushing low buzzing electro pulse been left to boil away, and more violent ambient stretches of sound appear, often bombarded by tangles of guitar junk. Later on a very different guitar drone/ strum can be heard as the track builds up tenseness once more, as the electro burns and added back in- almost feels like some alien mind washing machine sound, towards the end of the track he coaxes some great pumped up firework like sounds from the noise, you can almost see strange brilliant white rockets been let off above you.

The last part Metamorphism part four again returns to the barren and rudimentary guitar strum, that develops into to a strange  guitar jig that’s has an almost tuneful pattern, before circles of droning and dread filled electro loops drop in. There left to hover for a moment before the return of the almost Jandek  type guitar cluttering, then things tight up again as the electronic pulse and guitar mayhem seem to merge in a very satisfying way. Things really get up to a wonderful tense sound of layered pulsing loops and guitar sound, as the track exits and your left in noise nirvana.


So really if any thing can be said it’s a return to using more instantly recognisable guitar tone, that veer towards melodic and traditional structure. A nod towards his guitar use in albums like  Puroland and Yoshinotsune- but with much of the old school return to analogue electronics, we’ve seen of late. And some what of windswept barren desert air about it all . Those  wanting to get hold of one the 500 ltd copy's of this in the Mable box,are advised to order direct from here.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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