Music Reviews

Title: The Sacred Truth
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
From the depth of the most nightmarish Old and New Testament vision (the Ten Horned Beast is named before "Revelation"17:3/13:1 and "Daniel" 7:7) comes the inspiration for the TenHornedBeast, project of Christopher Walton of Endura fame. THE SACRED TRUTH is the first proper CD album of the project (Christopher released previously a couple of CDr privately and through NOTHingness REcords) and contains five magmatic drones suites. If you were used to the electronic/ambient/experimental sound of the Endura, try to put it aside as TenHornedBeast is based on a different sound/approach. At first I was surprised to read a review of this CD by Julian Cope where he compared this album to the kraut rock sound he loves so much but if you think about records like Amon Duul II's "Yeti" and to its long improvisations (the last three tracks of the CD reissued recently) TenHornedBeast sounds like a dark version of it, where classic rock instruments are treated and sound like reaped cellos or like reverbs on death corridors. Christopher on the second panel of the cover talked about a process of destruction of the standards imposed to men by modern age and his great truth is witnessing this process (I hope we'll be able to get more in depth on the forthcoming interview) and tracks like "Our lady of the lightning bolt" and "In the teeth of the woolf" seem to be its soundtrack.
Title: Ten Stars - Ten Horns
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Whoah. This is one of the most diverse and intriguing self-released cdrs that I've come across in a long while. THB is the solo project of Christopher Walton, who used to be part of well-known ambient occultists Endvra (whose "The Watcher", on Old Europa Cafè, is still one of my faves in the dark drones field). Chris also plays dark ambient/neoclassical music as Servants of the Secret Flame, but THB has been his main activity for a while. What can I say? Experience and talent shows. THB is pitch black drone-doom. Everything is black just right from the impressive package: the cover design has been printed on transparent film, so you can barely see it when housed in the DVD case; the cdr is black, as is the cardboard insert with black wax and black lace - talk of indicative packaging. And the music is great, and fairly different from what I thought. I was expecting some doom minimalism à la Earth or Sunn))00, but nope, THB seems to walk his own path. There are little to no '70's influences here, instead I was reminded a lot of great UK post-metal acts like Godflesh and Scorn: though THB's pieces are notably different, some characteristics (heavy drum programming, cold and very dilated guitars, etc.) are definitely there. But again, THB is really quite individual. Imagine a bass line or guitar riff obtusely repeated over and over again; drumming is rare, but provides for an obsessive militaristic feel; and then, the best part, the dark drones spiralling and coiling all over. Actually, I think that the more ambient tracks, like "Ten Stars Ten Horns", are just perfect. Pure solipsistic despair. Instead, the more "doom-oriented" ones, while good, could be bettered - at times, the riffs still sound a bit detached from the whole. But the massive, 20-minute "Shrines I-III" does reach the perfect combination. As Walton is working on a lot of new material (including tracks, allegedly, "up to 50 minutes in length"...), I expect some stellar release from the Beast in the near future.


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