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Shamblemaths: 2

Shamblemaths are Norwegian Duo Simen A. Ellingsen (guitars, saxophones, vocals) and Ingvald A. Vassbo (drums, percussion) who have released their sophomore album 2 this past October (2021).

Opening with a short solo alto sax on “Maneskygge”, Shamblemaths then go for the throat with “Knucklecog”. They evoke early King Crimson, think "21st Century Schitzoid Man" (with fewer vocals) and Red era combined. The music is angular, dissonant, and brutal, but can also conjure lovely atmospheres when called upon. Lovers of the mighty Mellotron will be pleased, as its presence is felt throughout the disc. The female vocals add a haunting ethereal quality, and you will come away impressed with such powerful music that is not afraid to display a subtle softer side. By the time “Knucklecog” ends, Shamblemaths have left nothing on the table. Take a minute to catch your breath before moving on.

“D.S.C.H” again features stratospheric female vocals and a variation on Shostakovich’s 8th String Quartet op.110. Skilled in both writing and playing intricate stop and start sections, I won’t say it’s always an easy listen, but it is very rewarding. I love the varied instrumentation used in “Lat Kvar Jordisk Skapning Teia”, there are moments of jazz, space rock, with the horns adding such dynamic diversity. Mellotron and heavy distorted bass drive Pt. 5, and with the female voices, listening to this with the lights off might just scare the hell out of you. Pt 9 features an odd and creepy child’s voice, but when listened to in the context of adding another element to the music, you just accept that it works (because it does). I could easily see a release of all instrumental music, and that would certainly work, but the vocals throughout add a strange and unique twist to the music, and I like it. The combined male and female vocals backed by piano during “This River” is a moody, introspective piece, that is all about capturing the right mood, and when the sax comes in, it’s perfect. A slow build up begins about midway through (thank you again for all that wonderful mellotron) for the albums final epic.

Rather than repeat myself, let’s say you get a 47 minute workout of very intense heavy, dark, mysterious, and complex music, that is finely blended with those quiet beautiful interludes that allow you to recover before the intensity ramps up once again. I think it’s time to go out and get the debut.

Track List:
1) Maneskygge
2) Knucklecog
3) D.S.C.H
4) Lat Kvar Jordisk Skapning Teia
Pts 1-4
Pt 5a,b
Pts 6-8
Pt 9
5) Been and Gone
6) This River

Added: January 27th 2022
Reviewer: Eric Porter
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 726
Language: english

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