Sunday, March 8, 2015

Review: Psudoku - Planetarisk Sudoku

A couple years back I went a binge of listening that included almost every band I could hear signed to the Grindcore Karaoke imprint, which somehow somewhere along the way led me to Norway's Parlamentarisk Sodomi, whose Cpt. Roger helms one-man band Psudoku as well. Norway not being a country well known for its grindcore scene, I was instantly intrigued. While the former adheres more strictly to convention, the latter is an insane blend of genre hopping scenes that shouldn't fit together, but somehow manage.

Think Bill Laswell's Praxis' second album, Sacrifist, which was a barnstorming mix of Harmony Corruption era Napalm Death and John Zorn's sax driven free-form jazz whilst lyrically belched out by Mick Harris and the inimitable Yamatsuka Eye from Japanese art project the Boredoms. Eking in elements of funk and dub while managing to remain coherently metal. Or maybe throw in aspects of Mr Bungle's self titled record along with the Yeti-esque improvisation of Amon Düül II, Painkiller's Guts of a Virgin or the Faust I record all the while informed by Siege or Unseen Terror. Does that sound ridiculous?

As far as structure, Psudoku is exceptionally technical, tight and without mess, taking obvious cues from Discordance Axis/Gridlink, and presenting over driven guitars that remain consistently jangly for the life of the album. The stylistic shifts of Roger's guitar playing are phenomenally fluid, stopping on a dime from breakneck grindcore picking then resuming with jazzy flourishes that sound like they would be more at home on a Madness or Specials album.

Bass playing as well is polished and precise, given room to explore the spaces within the songs rather than be confined to supporting the frantic drum work. Resembling jazz more than metal, but not in the same wank fashion as fluff like Beyond Creation, Obscura, or Necrophagist. Like the pulsing driven scores laid down by NOMEANSNO or Neu! it never plays off as masturbatory, but rather one of the primary foundations of the songs themselves.

Percussion-wise, this thing just smokes. There's syncopation pretty much each step of the album, and all 4 tracks cover enough stylistic ground to tire most conventional drummers within mere minutes, let alone a half hour run time. The blast beats have tremendous clarity and the pacing, while exceptionally varied, never meanders from breakneck. Rhythmically, Rogers isn't playing around and while the rest of the instrumentation may wander from the grindcore foundation of Psudoku, evoking everything from Hawkwind to Old Lady Drivers, the drumming is always entrenched at the root.

While the opening salvo of "BoLTZmanN BRaiN 2099" does much to prepare you for the experience, this is an album best meant as a dedicated journey from start to finish. The package as a whole is really something to behold, especially once you get to the near 15 minute epic "PsUDoPX.046245" which closes out the album in dizzying, distortionally progressive fashion. This is a hodge-podge, but rather than ending up incoherent or ironically self-aware it plays as a sincere experimentation of what the crossroads of unexpected genres would sound like. At the end of the year, this may well be the best, and most distinctively strange, album that grindcore will have to offer, and on those grounds I can't recommend it enough.

Links to stream and buy follow:

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