Friday, November 25, 2011

Album Review - Eggnogg, 'Moments in Vacuum', 2011.

'Eggnogg' are a heavy psych and doom band hailing from Brooklyn, New York. This is their 2011 full length record 'Moments in a Vacuum'. This is one for those evenings when you want some serious music to challenge as well as entertain you; heavy, trippy and inventive in equal doses...check it out.

''Magog'. Ancient movie soundtrack music and narration is broken by a thick, ultra-fuzzy, slow chug and as the voice says “...a unique and distant journey” the track erupts in all its weight and brightness like an elephant's death rattle. Singer Bill O'Sullivan's voice seems to come at us from the far end of a tunnel, so rich and reverberated is it. As the track pushes on past the five minute mile stone, it twists and turns a writhing path around more movie sound bytes and the speakers of my headphones are becoming overwhelmed by the end of the squall.

Track two, 'Raking in the Dough', is a relatively chilled out, old fashioned affair compared to 'Magog'. Pivoting on later Hendrix style minimal riffs and thick-as-Ben-and-Jerry's fuzz. Guitars weave around like rope spun with wah and again our sensibilities are challenged by bizarre film voices. We sail headlong into the brief, very Tony Iommi styled intro of 'Wheel of the Year'. After a few fleeting moments of beautiful clean guitars we are faced with a brick wall of riff with a steam hammer rhythm pounded out by drummer Ryan Quinn and guitarist Justin Karol while O'Sullivan indulges in all things Layne Staley in his vocal: a potent mixture. After six minutes we go into a nice simple groove to help you relax. Here the overdriven bass guitar comes through nicely and one thinks of what we love about Geezer Butler. Over 11 minutes, gradually the track has shifted from a Traditional Doom sludge party to a jammy blues rock beer drinking song.

'Nebuchadnezzar' opens oddly melancholic but cheery and settles into an old Blue Cheer vibe of steady grooves with warm, cozy guitars. The heavy load of its almost 12 minutes I can imagine is one to experience live. Suddenly things take a turn in the Neurosis direction with 'One Monster's Confession', with studio noise giving way to unmercifully distorted bass guitars, over which O'Sullivan forces out a pained, sludgy vocal, and it's all over in two and a half minutes and we drift into the trippy purple waters of 'Cydonia'. Clean guitars with a touch of watery chorus effect plays a descending melody that threatens to break out at any moment, but it remains restrained and let's lead guitars go to work.

Next we go into the title track, 'Moments in Vacuum'. A voice over which sounds as if it came from an audio book recites a chilling account of a man in an airless environment dying, all the while a Mastodon-in-a-cheeky-mood sounding passage plays behind and O'Sullivan displays some of his more unique vocals recorded here. Finally we are faced with 14 minutes of 'Rhythmic Past'. A riff playing in reverse makes a creepy intro and clean tones, as dirty as can be, already lend this track a sense of Isis at their best. Wandering vocals and stark acoustic guitars bring us to another voice over and a quote from 2001, A Space Odyssey “My God, It's Full of Stars” when all the heaviness of the record comes out in one. Finally, just south of 15 minutes, the ancient movie music comes back to play us out.

Eggnogg are no doubt a band to watch in months and years to come, to observe the impact they will have on the current stoner scene. This is a very innovative piece of work that the band must be applauded for: a rich mix of fuzzed out and acoustic guitars, inventive use of sound bytes and sampled music, lyrics you can sink your mental teeth into and grooves to satisfy that mysterious part of your brain that demands rhythm. Innovative and traditional all at once which is always impressive. Check this record out now!

Eggnogg – Moments in Vacuum, Palaver Records, 2011.
Rating: 7/10
Standout Tracks: Wheel of the Year, Moments in Vacuum, Magog.
For Fans of: Sun Grazer, Black Sabbath, Isis.

Edward Gerard Brophy

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