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John 3:16: עשר

With obvious scriptural references in its name, Philippe Gerber’s one-man-project John 3:16 is a drone/sludge/doom vehicle which, while almost exclusively without words, turns its gaze on the ‘Good Book’. Although it does so in a way which seems to neither glorify, or vilify. It’s an interesting starting point and one which more acts would do well to consider if religious connotations are on their agenda. Here endeth the lesson, for while the likes of “The Holy Mountain”, “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand Angels” and “Appolyon” offer obvious religious references, listen to עשר (which is Hebrew for ‘ten’) and you wouldn’t know one way or the other what the subject matter behind the machinations was.

A collection of b sides and unreleased tracks, this release gathers together the lesser celebrated work in a hefty catalogue by Gerber, which has wound its way across the first decade of John 3:16. And if this is what was left behind, then you’d guess that the main body of work must be a droner’s delight. Slow and patient, almost to the point at times of coming to a stop, there’s no denying the sense of foreboding that comes from the twelve tracks included here, but beware, if you are not an existing convert to this style, then this makes for a tough introduction. The opening foursome set the tone, “The Sun Shall Be Turned Into Darkness”, “Hexenhammer”, “Alcyone” and “Judith” trying the patience as they enrich the resolute of spirit. There are no quick pay offs and no concession to those scrabbling on the outside for a way in. Instead you need to allow the grinding, deathly slow sounds to crawl over you to glean any real understanding.

“The Holy Mountain” does offer something more in the way of pace and beat, a mechanical thrum our companion as stories are hinted at and reasons unfold. It’s a rare beast, “La Fin Absolue Du Monde” and “Into The Abyss” once more being about placing and time, the intention being to distort the mind while creating clarity. The final three pieces, “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand Angels”, “The White Horse” and “The Black Hollow” (featuring Rasplyn) surprise by offering much more obvious rhythms and directions; feeling almost upbeat by comparison of what has come before, although you’d hardly say they were a ‘joyous’ experience.

Running at just under 75 minutes and featuring 12 tracks, on its own this is a generous collection. However the CD also comes with a download code for a further 17 tracks which continue the journey further. It’s a hell of a ride, although opinions may vary as to whether it is there or heaven which is the destination this music will lead you to.

Track Listing
1. The Sun Shall Be Turned Into Darkness
2. Hexenhammer
3. Alcyone
4. Judith
5. The Holy Mountain
6. La Fin Absolue Du Monde
7. The River of Life
8. Appolyon
9. Into The Abyss
10. Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand Angels
11. The White Horse
12. The Black Hollow (Feat. Rasplyn)

Added: July 18th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: John 3:16 on bandcamp
Hits: 743
Language: english

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