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Serious Beak: Huxwhukw

One of the interesting things about instrumental rock is that there is room for a lot of interesting experimentation with texture, melody, structure and so on. I must say that the Australian progressive band Serious Beak take full advantage of the lack of of any restrictions having a vocalist might impose on music.

A work of true eclecticism, Huxwhukw takes the listener through a lot of different musical expressions from the mellow gentleness of clean guitar sections (slightly akin to early Yes' softer works) over the oppressiveness of heavy sludge riff to the fury of all out chaotic grindcore blastbeating. The opener 'Baxwbakwalanuksiwé' is soft and pleasing to the ear, and the following track 'Han' seems to follow the same patter but suddenly shifts into a heavy chaotic sludge metal song and, after an atmospheric, but noise-infused, passage, an uptempo odd metered frantic riff kicks in and challenged the listener for the remainder of the song (with the exception of a coda that reprises the sludgy parts). In 'Swagger', Serious Beak further explore the darker aspects of music, as they incorporate grindcore blasting, death metal riffing, and even a bit of hardcore punk into their sound. After the more atmospheric 'Gödel !Xun', which is mellow, yet dark, (which also applies to 'Fljóta'), Serious Beak moves on to exploring rhythmic ambiguities, grooves, and sludge in 'Tuī / Tuō', while 'Anhrefn' is a flurry of riffs and dissonant chords (and features an insane Latin breakdown). 'Sporãs' continues down the same road, drawing on death metal, thrash metal, and sludge metal, and also features some King Crimson-esque breakdowns and interludes, while 'Lähendama' is an all out grindcore attack, and the closer 'Taheu Nadryvy, Taheu!' shares features with Blood Mountain-era Mastodon at their maddest.

The production is unpolished, but it suits the dynamics of this album very well - the music is quite eclectic and the compositions very dynamic in structure, so an organic production fits very well into the picture.

Huxwhukw is definitely a challenging listen, and prog fans who also like extreme music are probably more likely to be able to appreciate the album than prog fans who are not into extreme metal. In any case, if you are into progressive rock along the lines of Yes and King Crimson, and also like sludge metal, death metal and grindcore - and don't mind experimental music, then you are in for a treat here.

Track listing:
1. Baxwbakwalanuksiwé
2. Han
3. Swagger
4. Gödel !Xun
5. Tuī / Tuō
6. Anhrefn
7. Sporãs
8. Lähendama
9. Fljóta
10. Taheu Nadryvy, Taheu!

Added: January 25th 2012
Reviewer: Kim Jensen
Related Link: Serious Beak @ MySpace
Hits: 2046
Language: english

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